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Full text of "An inquiry into the claims of Doctor William Harvey to the discovery of the circulation of the blood : with a more equitable retrospect of that event : to which is added, an introductory lecture, delivered on the third of November 1829, in vindication of Hippocrates from sundry charges of ignorance preferred against him by the late Professor Rush"

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Profesaor of Materia Medica and Pharmacy in the University of Pennsylvania— Member of the 

Amer. Phil. Soc.— Of the Batavian Society of Sciences, at Haarlem— Of the Roy. 

Med. Soc, and of the Roy. Soc. of Sciences, of Copenhagen, &c. &e. 







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3Etltttttf y according to the Act of Congress, in tlic year 1834, by John Red- 
man Coxe, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of 

IAN & CO., PR1 



arfje aattiteti States, 

I know not that I could dedicate this essay with more propriety 
elsewhere, than to you, Gentlemen, the rising arbiters of the Pro- 
fession. It is probable that but few of the elder members of our 
Science will change those opinions, from any thing herein collected, 
that have been cherished as Truth, from the earliest dawn of their 
medical studies. I do not suppose that this arises from any desire 
to sustain what is incorrect ; but prejudices are not often aban- 
doned, if adopted from those in whose dictates we are educated, 
and of whose correctness or truth, the learner has no immediate 
means of appreciating. Like the dogmas of our respective creeds, 
sucked in, as it were, with our mother's milk ; so, the dogmas of 
our Profession, enunciated, ex Cathedra, with scarce a shade of 
doubt; are impressed too strongly to be subsequently removed 
by the mere opposition of an individual, who may venture to 
hazard some scruples on the subject ; since all doubt has been so 


long silent, as to the claims of Dr. Harvey, that the worst con- 
struction will probably be placed by many of my readers, on this 
attempt to diminish the value of the award, that has been for 
more than two centuries associated with his name. 

To your charge, Gentlemen, I commit this Inquiry : if you find 
cause to believe it to be the mere attempt of a paltry desire to 
diminish the glories that have encircled his brow, you will treat 
it with the contempt it would so justly deserve: but should you be 
led by it to believe, that others have rights to a large proportion 
of Dr. Harvey's claims; a sense of justice will unquestion- 
ably lead you to investigate the subject, even more fully than 
I have been enabled to accomplish. Trusting that, in so doing, 
whatever may be your final verdict as to the conclusions I have 
arrived at ; you will at any rate, appreciate the purity of my 
motives, and my desire to extend what I believe to be true, 

I am, Gentlemen, most respectfully, 
Your friend, &c. 


Philadelphia, September, 1834. 


It will, no doubt, at first sight appear extraordinary to the 
medical reader, and to the world at large, to hear of an attempt, 
at this late period, to divest the illustrious Harvey of a part, at 
least, of the honourable award that has so long been conceded 
to him, of the discovery of the circulation of the blood. Two 
hundred and twenty years have nearly elapsed since he read 
his course of lectures to the College of Physicians of London, in 
which, says his biographer, " he opened his discovery relating 
to the circulation of the blood," being then in his 37th year ; 
and, after several years of controversy, and pretended claims 
from other sources, " the honour of the discovery has been suffi- 
ciently asserted and confirmed to Harvey," — and, continues he, 
quoting from Friend, " it icas entirely owing to him." It may 
consequently be affirmed, that, from every quarter, this assertion 
has been so long reiterated, and so fully credited, that at present 
no one doubts the full extent, or even the smallest portion of this 
claim ! The award thus granted has descended, as an heir- 
loom, from one medical generation to another; is accredited 
now, in its fullest extent ; and to throw even a shade of suspicion 
upon it, to the medical world, will unquestionably seem a sacri- 
legious attempt, deserving of obloquy and unqualified reproba- 
tion ! Attempts have, it is true, been made, at different times, to 
deny the circulation altogether, or to father it upon some other 
person ; but, the manner in which this has heretofore been con- 
ducted, seems to have been but illy adapted to the end in view ; 
since few, if any, pursued, fully and fairly, the fiction to its 
source ; whilst the attempt merely added strength to the claim, 
which was seen to be so imperfectly opposed. 

It will, necessarily, appear a hazardous undertaking, now, to 



suspect the integrity of those statements that have reached us ; 
to surmise any thing like plagiarism, or deception, in the pro- 
ceedings ; which, like fame, have augmented, as receding from 
their source: and this attempt, like its predecessors, though 
based on a different ground, and pursued in a different manner, 
will yet, probably, be regarded as undeserving of notice, except 
it should be that of reproach. 

Satisfied, nevertheless, with the integrity of my intentions, 
which, indeed, have originated in circumstances that I could 
not control ; I must leave to others, if they shall honour these 
pages with a perusal, the task of judging how far I am sustained in 
my opposition, by the facts or arguments adduced ; whilst I with 
sincerity declare, that during a period of more than forty years 
from the time I commenced the study of my profession, no indi- 
vidual stood higher in my estimation than the illustrious Harvey. 
His treatises, both on the circulation and on generation, were 
amongst the first I read or possessed ; and none considered with 
more absolute conviction than myself, that all opposition to his 
claims were founded in error or in prejudice : and it would, of 
all things, have appeared the most incredible to me, had I been 
told, only ten years ago, that I ever should have questioned the 
claims of the man I so long had venerated. What led to this, 
will appear in the course of the following pages, — in which I 
trust to show, that my opposition arises from no desire to dispa- 
rage Dr. Harvey, or to underrate or undervalue his claims and 
discoveries ; but altogether from an anxious wish to do justice to 
others, whose merits have in my opinion been entirely over- 
looked, or set aside, by awarding solely to Dr. Harvey the ho- 
nour of the discovery of this great physiological fact, — on which 
so many, if not all others, absolutely depend, — instead of dividing 
it with several of his predecessors. 

I shall not positively affirm, although it seems to me to be the 
fact, that the same disposition, (at the exaggerated estimate of a 
few individuals, who, at the period he wrote, gave Harvey the 
high and honourable title of discoverer of the circulation, al- 
though absolutely only attaching more firmly those connecting 
links of an extensive chain, which time had rusted, and possibly, 
also, adding slightly to its more full perfection,) — this same dis- 


position, I repeat, at a subsequent period, robbed a native of 
America of the well deserved claim to the discovery of the 
quadrant ! and placed those laurels on the brow of Hadley, that 
had so unjustly been torn from the humble and nearly unknown 
Godfrey. If Hadley, by his allowed improvement of the instru- 
ment, could fairly divest the latter of his claim to the discovery ; 
then we may equally admit, that Harvey was the undoubted and 
sole discoverer of the circulation. If so great an injustice as 
that exhibited, and which is still persisted in, against the real 
discoverer of the quadrant, even only within the last sixty years, 
is tolerated, how can we now expect, when two hundred have 
elapsed, to substantiate, in opposition to Harvey, the co-equal 
claims of Galen, Servetus, Aquapendente, and many more? when, 
not only Great Britain, but all the world, alike yield to the testi- 
monials in his behalf! Let me hope, at least, for an act of jus- 
tice, by reading what I have to say, before condemning me ! Let 
me say, in the words of Themistocles, " Strike, but hear me ;" 
and then, perhaps, the real facts being made apparent, some 
may be induced to think with me, that the claims set up for 
Harvey, as to this great and glorious discovery, are far beyond 
their appropriate standard. Had he not, himself, most fully 
claimed the whole, in various parts of his works, and especially 
in his 52d Exercit. de Generatione, where he speaks of it in the 
following words, " Circuitum sanguinis admirabilem, a me jam- 
pridem invention," I should have thought the claims for him 
from other quarters, to be of less importance, and might proba- 
bly have omitted altogether the inquiry it has led me into ! 
In order to comprehend fully his asserted claims, as well as 
' the opposition to them, I regret that an unavoidable extent of 
extracts, from different sources, becomes necessary ; and also, 
that, as the writings of those days were chiefly in Latin, when 
connected with scientific research, it has been equally necessary 
to quote from the original. The subject is sufficiently interest- 
ing to hope that this dead language will not discourage, or be 
overlooked by, the friends of truth. It may, in the present day, 
indeed, make the reference to a dictionary more frequent ; but I 
have thought it more proper to give my quotations in the very 
words of the writer, than to put them into English ; since, I 


might be regarded as giving rather my own, than the version oi 
the writer himself. I much fear, indeed, that it is this great ne- 
glect of Latin in the present day, that prevents many of our pro- 
fession from investigating the treasures that abound in most of 
those huge volumes, in which our predecessors were wont to 
clothe their views ; and of which they have been so frequently 
defrauded by the affirmed novelties of later writers. 

I propose to precede the object in view, by giving the biogra- 
phy of this excellent man ; together with the observations which 
Friend, in his History of Medicine, (Ed. 1725. vol. I. p. 227.) has 
introduced in his behalf. This history is in form of a letter to the 
celebrated Dr. Mead ; and has always been in high and deserved 
esteem. The extracts from Harvey himself, and from the dif- 
ferent authors, will connect themselves with the text when ne- 
cessary ; or be given as an appendix at the end. The editions of 
Harvey from which I quote, are " De Motu Cordis et Circula- 
tione," a 12mo. edition of Glasgow, of 1751; and an English 
translation, of a former edition, printed in London, 1673, to 
which is added, a Discourse of the Heart, by Dr. De Back, of 
Rotterdam, and containing, also, two dissertations of Harvey to 
the younger Riolan, in vindication of his doctrines, and attempts 
to remove the prejudices of Riolan against them. It will be 
found that I have had occasion more than once to refer to these, 
and thus measure Harvey by a standard that others have ne- 
glected to employ, viz., by himself. 

It may be well to impress here upon the reader, that although 
Harvey had not been idle in promulgating his opinions, pre- 
viously to announcing them in his first course of anatomical lec- 
tures of 1616; yet, conforming to the Horatian rule of nonum * 
prematur in annum, he did not commit them to the press until 
twelve years afterwards, viz., in 1628 ; so that he had every 
possible opportunity that time could afford, or animadversion 
could suggest, and friendship verify, ©f perfecting fully that 
opinion or discovery which he had so long before enunciated 
and proclaimed to be his own, or of giving to others that which 
was justly their due. 

I am aware that numerous defenders have sprung up in behalf 
of Dr. Harvey's claims ; but it appears to me, that a sufficient 


distinction has not been drawn as to the tacts, on which those 
claims are founded. Three^ different grounds have apparently 
been assumed against him by his opponents. 

1. That others, before him, had discovered the circulation. 

2. That, at all events, his assumption of the complete discovery, 
without any credit given to his predecessors, was unwarrantable, 
and contrary to fact. 

3. That all that could possibly be granted to him, was that of 
more fully substantiating the fact, and demonstrating the proba- 
ble route of the general circulation, which had previously re- 
mained in a state of uncertainty. 

That Harvey claimed for himself, the full and undivided credit 
of this discovery, is clear from various circumstances, viz. : — 

a. His own direct assertions, and those of most of his adhe- 
rents and friends. 

b. His almost entire silence, as to any competitor in this 
field of inquiry, either anterior to, or contemporary with him. 

c. His total silence as to some writers, immediately preceding 
him, on the use of the valvular apparatus of the veins; the only 
part, nearly, that could be regarded as imperfect in the history 
of the circulation. 

It will probably be affirmed, that all these particulars have 
been repeatedly disproved, and that Harvey's claims are abso- 
lutely unquestionable. But is this true ? and how has the at- 
tempt to maintain his claims been conducted, and by whom ? 
Very few have, indeed, taken up the question at all ; and still 
fewer have conducted the investigation in the way it required. 
In vindicating or disproving his claims, strict justice demanded, 
that the inquirer should be guided chiefly, if not entirely, by his 
own views, as at first promulgated in his earliest treatise on the 
subject, rather than by subsequent editions, in which numerous 
alterations or modifications might be presumed to strengthen the 
imperfections of the first ; for the observations or opinions of 
commentators present their own views, and not his alone. The 
facts he has himself laid down, are the only ones by which we 
should judge him: — from those alone are we entitled to reason, 
and not from the specious additions advanced by others. If we 
take, as our guide, the ardent attempts in Harvey's behalf by 


his friend Dr. Ent, in his "Apologia pro Circulatione Sanguinis," 
printed in 1641, or 13 years after Harvey's treatise first appear* 

ed, have we any thing beyond assumption on his part, when he 
goes beyond the text of Harvey, and co-operates with him in all 
his invectives ?— What if he has shown Primrose, Parisanus and 
others, to be wrong, and even to have outraged Harvey in their 
observations on his works; this by no means proves that Harvey 
was correct in all his assumptions, and to be sustained at all 
hazards, as the sole discoverer of the circulation. 

If we look into the edition of Harvey's works, by the London 
college of 176G, we shall find therein an enumeration of between 
three and four hundred variations, of all descriptions, between it, 
assumed as the most perfect, and the first, printed by Harvey at 
Frankfort, in 1628. But the circumstance of Harvey being 
himself the editor, renders it essential to inquire into its merits, 
and not those of the college edition, at nearly an interval of a 
century and a half, when such numerous additions had been 
made in science. In reading the following remarks, this cir- 
cumstance should be kept in view ; and the question perpetually 
asked, at every position assumed by Harvey, or any asserted fact 
or demonstration; whether they were or not, known to others, 
previously to his publication ? If acknowledged to have been 
known, what exclusive claim can he lay to them ? — or, how can 
those, individually acknowledged to have been advanced by 
others, become the right of Harvey, because he may have col- 
lected them into a focus ? 

In comparing the strictures of the college edition, in the pre- 
fixed life of Harvey, with those of Senac in his treatise on the 
heart, on the opponents or predecessors of the Harveyan doc- 
trines, we shall find them nearly the same; and differing but little 
from those of his earliest advocates. The claims of Harvey, 
awarded to him in his life-time, appear to have been so fully 
conceded, that scarcely has any inquiry into their correctness 
been since attempted. Assertions and conjectures, often un- 
proved and unsupported, and sometimes contradictory, take the 
place of facts ; and a chain has been riveted on free investigation, 
by tradition chiefly, which has continued unbroken to the present 


In adverting to the circumstances which led Harvey to the 
inquiries he has presented to us in his treatise, De motu Cordis et 
Sanguinis, the college speaks in mere conjecture, as the following 
extract, p. xxiii, will probably prove ; and which may or may not 
be founded in truth, for any thing determinate which can be 
gathered from it, that is not to be found in preceding writers. 

" Haud injucundum fortasse erit quaesivisse unde primum 
Harveio injecta sit de sanguinis circuitu suspicio. In hac dis- 
quisitione, si ordo rerum in Harveii libello expositarum spectetur, 
nihil verisimilius se colligere posse quis autumet, quam Harveio 
musculosam cordis naturam contemplanti, ejusdemque valvula- 
rum formam atque nexum, sanguinis denique copiam ex corde 
dissecto cum impetu et celeritate singulis cordis contractionibus 
prosilientem, statim cogitationem de sanguinis circuitu mentem 
ejus subiisse. At aliud est verum invenire, aliud idem inventum 
demonstare: nam profecto saspe fit ut id, quod primum animum 
inventoris percusserit, sit in docendo ultimum. Boyleius physicus 
ille celeberrimus, in libro, quern de finibus rerum naturae con- 
scripsit, narrat Harveium illi dixisse primam lucem sibi sanguinis 
itinera perlustranti a valvulis venarum Fabricio ab Aquapendente 
primum observatis effulsisse.* Cum enim ex forma atque nexu 

* " Late experiments having shown the use of the blood's circulation, and of the 
valves in the heart and veins, (which, the famous Dr. Harvey told me, gave him the 
first hint of his grand discovery,) we at length acknowledge the wisdom of the 
contrivance, after it had escaped the search of many preceding ages." 

Boyle's Philos. Works. Shaw's ed. Ato. London, 1725, vol. I. p. 11. 

" I remember, upon asking our famous Harvey, what induced him to think of a 
circulation of the blood ; he said, that observing the valves in the veins of many 
parts of the body, so placed, as to give free passage to the blood towards the heart, 
but to oppose the passage of the venal blood the contrary way ; he imagined that 
so provident a cause as nature had not thus placed so many valves without design : 
and as no design seemed more probable than that, since the blood could not well, 
because of the interposing valves, be sent by the veins to the limbs, it should be 
sent through the arteries and return through the veins, whose valves did not oppose 
its course that way. Thus, though the ancient anatomists and physicians believed 
the parts were nourished by the venal blood ; the modern writers teach them to be 
nourished by the blood in its passage through the arteries Not that they think 
the blood, which runs through the veins, altogether unfit to supply the parts with 
that vital liquor ; but because they judge the veins to be less fit for this purpose 
than the arteries ; into the latter whereof the blood comes immediately from the 
left ventricle of the heart, agitated, and spirituous, and, by a brisk impulse, better 
suited to answer this end. — Idem. Vol. II. p. 179. 


valvularum pateret sanguinem a corde venarum ductu in singu- 
las corporis partes deduci non posse ; nee naturarn labore irrito 
et inani artificio valvulas illas construxisse certum esset ; nihil 
verisimilius excogitari posse sibi visum esse, quam sanguinem a 
corde arteriarum ramulis quaquaversum deferri, venarumque 
finibus exceptum in cor rursus reportari ; siquidem a venis in 
cor via pateat, sanguini vcro nitenti contra valvulse opponantur. 
Hac felici conjectura usus rem omnem experimentorum indicio 
patefecit." • 

It may here be remarked, that, although the college give 
Harvey the credit of telling Boyle the valves were first discover- 
ed by F. ab Aquapendente, yet that Boyle actually asserts no 
such thing in the part quoted. It is true, Harvey himself, in his 
treatise, as will be hereafter noticed, does ascribe the discovery 
to him, but denies his knowledge of their use. Is it reasonable 
to suppose the sagacity of Aquapendente, on seeing the valves, 
thus allowed to have been his discovery, and not seen merely 
at second hand, to have been inferior to that of Harvey ? But 
admitting it, we shall be able to demonstrate that, what Aqua- 
pendente could not develope, viz., the use of the valves ; is satis- 
factorily noticed by an individual, hitherto unnoticed in the dis- 
cussion, by either friend or opponent, whose writings were pub- 
lished whilst Harvey was a mere child, and thus forestalled him 
even in this particular. 

It is time, however, to proceed to the Biography of Harvey, 
together with Friend's remarks, above adverted to, as a prepa- 
ratory step to the consideration of his treatise. 



William Harvey, an eminent English physician, who first 
discovered the circulation of the blood, was born of a gentle- 
man's family at Folkstone, in Kent, upon the second of April, 
1578. At ten years of age he was sent to a grammar school at 
Canterbury, and at fourteen removed from thence to Caius 
College, in Cambridge. At the age of nineteen, he travelled 
through France and Germany to Padua in Italy; where, having 
studied physic under Eustachius Radius, John Minadous, and 
the celebrated Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente, he was 
created doctor of physic and chirurgery in that university, in 
1602. He had a particular regard for this last master; often 
quotes him, and in terms of the highest respect ; and declares, 
that he was the more willing to publish his book De Motu Cordis, 
because Fabricius, who had learnedly and accurately delineated 
in a particular treatise almost all the parts of animals, had left 
the heart alone untouched. Soon after returning to England, he 
was incorporated doctor of physic at Cambridge, went to Lon- 
don to practise, and married. In 1604, he was admitted candi- 
date of the college of physicians in London; and three years after 
admitted fellow. In 1 6 1 5, he was appointed lecturer of anatomy 
and chirurgery in that college ; and the year after read a course 

* Biographical Diet. Vol. VI. London, 1784. 


of lectures there, in which he opened his discovery, relating to 
the circulation of the blood. The original manuscript of these 
lectures is extant, in the valuable museum of the late Sir Hans 
Sloane, which was purchased by the parliament, and is entitled 
Prselectiones anatom. universal, per me Gulielmum Harvseium, 
medicum Londinensem, anat. et chirurg. professorem. Ann. Dom. 
1616. Anno eetatis, 37. Prelect. Apr. 16, 17, 18. In 1628, he 
published his Exercitatio anatomica de motu Cordis et Sanguinis ; 
and dedicated it to king Charles I. There follows also another 
dedication to the president and rest of the college of physicians, 
in which he observes, that he had frequently before, in his ana- 
tomical lectures, declared his new opinion concerning the mo- 
tion and use of the heart, and the circulation of the blood ; and 
for above nine years had confirmed and illustrated it before the 
college, by reasons and arguments grounded upon ocular de- 
monstration, and defended it from the objections of the most 
skilful anatomists. This discovery was of such vast importance 
to the whole art of physic, that as soon as men were satisfied, 
which they were in a few years, that it could not be contested, 
a great many put in for the prize themselves ; a great many 
affirmed the discovery to be due to others ; unwilling that Dr. 
Harvey should run away with all the glory. Some asserted that 
Father Paul was the first discoverer of the circulation ; but bein^ 
too much suspected for heterodoxies already, durst not make it 
public, for fear of the inquisition. Honoratus Faber professed 
himself to be the author of that opinion ; and Vander Linden, 
who published an edition of Hippocrates about the middle of the 
last century, took a great deal of pains to prove, that this father 
of physic knew the circulation of the blood, and that Dr. Harvey 
only revived it. But the honour of the discovery has been suffi- 
ciently asserted and confirmed to Dr. Harvey ; and, says Dr. 
Friend, " as it was entirely owing to him, so he has explained it 
with all the clearness imaginable ; and though much has been 
written upon that subject since, I may venture to say, his own 
book is the shortest, the plainest, and the most convincing of any, 
as we may be satisfied, if we look into the many apologies, writ- 
ten in defence of the circulation." 

In 1632, he was made physician to Charles I., as he had been 


before to king James ; and adhering to the royal cause upon the 
breaking' out of the civil wars, attended his majesty at the battle 
of Edge-hill, and thence to Oxford, where, in 1642, he was in- 
corporated doctor of physic. In 1645, the king got him elected 
warden of Merton college in that university ; but upon the sur- 
rendering of Oxford the year after to the parliament, he left that 
office and retired to London. In 1651, he published his book, 
entitled Exercitationes de generatione animalium ; quibus acce- 
dunt quaedam de parte, de membranis ac humoribus uteri, et de 
conceptione. This is a curious work, and had certainly been 
more so, but for some misfortunes, by which his papers perished, 
during the time of the civil wars. For although he had both 
leave and an express order from the parliament, to attend his 
majesty upon his leaving Whitehall, yet his house in London was 
in his absence plundered of all the furniture ; and his Adversaria, 
with a great number of anatomical observations, relating espe- 
cially to the generation of insects, were taken away by the savage 
hands of the rude invader. This loss he lamented several years 
after ; and the reader will be apt to lament it too, when he con- 
siders the following pathetic words : " Atque haec dum agimus, 
ignoscant mihi niviae animae, si summarum injuriarum memor, 
levem gemitum effudero. Doloris mihi haec causa est. Cum 
inter nuperos nostros tumultus, et bella plusquam civilia, serenis- 
simum regem, idque non solum senatus permissione sed et jussu, 
sequor, rapaces quaedam manus non modo aedium mearum su- 
pellectilem omnem expilarunt, sed etiam, quae mihi causa gravior 
querimoniae, adversaria mea multorum annorum laboribus parta, 
e musaeo meo summaparunt. Quo factum est, ut observationes 
plurimae, praesertim de generatione insectorum, cum reipublicas 
literariae, ausim dicere, detrimento perierint." In 1654, on 
Michaelmas day, Dr. Harvey was chosen president of the college 
of physicians in his absence ; and coming thither the day after, 
he acknowledged his great obligation to the electors, for choosing 
him into a place of the same honour and dignity as if he had 
been elected to be medicorum omnium apud Anglos princeps. 
But his age and weakness were so great, that he could not dis- 
charge the duty incumbent upon that great office, and therefore 
he requested them to choose Dr. Prujean, who had deserved so 


well of the college. As he had no children, he made the college 
his heirs, and settled his paternal estate upon them in July fol- 
lowing. He had three years before built them a combination- 
room, a library, and a museum ; and, in 1656, he brought the 
deeds of his estate, and presented them to the college. He was 
then present at the first feast, instituted by himself, to be con- 
tinued annually, together with a commemoration-speech in Latin, 
to be spoken on the 18th of October, in honour of the benefactors 
to the college ; having appointed a handsome stipend for the 
orator, and also for the keeper of the library and museum, which 
are still called by his name. He died in June, 1657, and was 
carried to be interred at Hempsted in Hertfordshire, where a 
monument is erected to his memory. Not long afterwards a 
character of him was drawn up, and engraved on a copper-plate, 
which was put under his picture at college. 

We will just mention that Dr. Harvey lived to see his doctrine 
of the circulation of the blood universally received; and was 
observed by Mr. Hobbes, to be "the only person that ever had 
that happiness." 



Extracted from his History of Physic, Vol. I. p. 227. 

I cannot omit saying something of one author more, whom 
we may reckon one of the ancients, though not properly a writer 
in physic. Nemesius, Bishop of Emissa, who wrote a treatise 
concerning the nature of man, near the end of the fourth century ; 
because the Oxford editor ascribes two discoveries to him, one 
of which was the most considerable that ever was made in phy- 
sic. The first is concerning the bile.* 

But there follows a much more material point: and the editor 
contends, that the circulation of the blood, an invention which 
the last century so much bragged of, was known to Nemesius, 
and described in very plain and significant terms, which are 
these : " The motion of the pulse takes its rise from the heart, 
and chiefly from the left ventricle of it ; the artery is with great 
vehemence dilated and contracted by a sort of constant har- 
mony and order. While it is dilated, it draws the thinner part 
of the blood from the next veins, the exhalation or vapour of 
which blood, is made the aliment of the vital spirit. But while 
it is contracted, it exhales whatever fumes it has through the 
whole body, and by secret passages. So that the heart throws 
out whatever is fuliginous, through the mouth and the nose by 

Upon this single slender proof does the Oxford editor attribute 
this great discovery of the circulation to Nemesius : and those 
who have insisted that it was known both to Hippocrates and 
Galen, have full as good arguments on their side. I will only 
say this, that from this very description, and from what the same 
author says of the liver in the same chapter, that it ministers 

* This, not being; connected with our subject, is omitted. — Ed. 

xxii dr. friend's remarks on the 

nourishment to the body by the veins, one may demonstrably 
infer, that Nemesius had no idea of the manner in which the 
circulation of the blood is performed. 

I will not enter into a dispute upon this head ; but shall only 
content myself with observing, that the true circulation was not 
at all rightly understood by a much later writer, and that a very 
elegant and accurate one, Columbus ; who, as he was an ex- 
cellent anatomist, above one hundred and fifty years ago, with 
the nicest exactness, explained not only the structure, but the use 
too, of every part belonging to the heart, excepting a little mis- 
take about some of the valves : and did, in as clear a manner as 
words could express, show how, by the contraction and dilata- 
tion of the heart and mechanism of its vessels, the blood circu- 
lates through the lungs, from the cava to the aorta, (nobody, as 
he says himself, having either observed this, or written any thing 
of it,) and from thence, into all the parts of the body. In his 
language, (as to the sense, much indeed the same as we find in 
Servetus, a contemporary writer, though much more fully ex- 
plained,) the lungs are for generating vital spirits, and this he 
describes in the following expressions : — " The windpipe diffuses 
the air into all parts of the lungs ; the lungs mix this air with the 
blood, which comes from the right ventricle of the heart by the 
pulmonary artery. The blood by this continual motion of the 
lungs is agitated, attenuated, and mingled with the air, which 
air itself, by this collision and rarefaction, is so prepared, that 
both the blood and air, mixed together, are taken in by the 
branches of the pulmonary vein, and through its trunk conveyed 
to the left ventricle of the heart; and they are conveyed hither 
so well mixed and attenuated, that there is little more left to do 
for the heart ; therefore, after a little further elaboration here, 
which gives as it were the last hand to the vital spirits, there 
remains nothing else, than that the heart, by the help of the 
aorta, should throw and distribute the blood into all the parts of 
the body." This is literally the sense of this inquisitive anatomist, 
and we see how exactly consonant to truth his doctrine is ; only 
he stops short here, and does not at all explain how the blood 
flows from the arteries to the veins. Nay, it is evident from 
what he says in several places of those vessels, that he did not 


in the least comprehend any communication between them. For 
besides that he assigns the carrying of vital spirits only to the 
arteries, in another discourse he tells us, that the veins convey 
the blood from the liver, to all the parts of the body. And in 
this point chiefly, that is, the intercourse between the arteries and 
the veins, is his doctrine of the circulation deficient ; however 
little it has been understood by those who have writ for or 
against Harvey.* 

Caesalpinus indeed drops the word anastomosis, (copying, 
perhaps, from Servetus, whose word it is,) by which he supposes 
the native heat may pass from the arteries to the veins ; but this 
in the time of sleep only : and, from the sentence immediately 
following, it is plain, that he had no notion of the circular pro- 
gress of the blood ; for he makes it only move like an Euripus, 
the very word he uses, in a sort of undulating motion from one 
extremity of the vessel to the other, which is, indeed, the very 
idea Hippocrates himself had of the motion of the blood ; and 
Aquapendente, in direct terms, describes the blood as circulating 
by way of flux and reflux in the arteries. Were we, indeed, to 
reason from what these writers say concerning the circulation 
of the blood, both through the heart and through the lungs into 
the aorta, the conclusion must demonstrably be, that the blood 
which goes into the aorta must return back into the cava ; else 
how could the constant current, which by their own account runs 
through the heart and lungs, be maintained \ but it is as demon- 
strable, that they did not perceive this consequence, which 
naturally and necessarily follows from their own principles. 

Neither is this so much to be wondered at; for Columbus 
and Csesalpinus might as well go so far, and no farther, as that 
Aquapendente could discover and describe the valves of the 
veins, and yet be at the same time ignorant of the true use of 
them ; as it is very plain he was, from his own description of 
them. As this great discovery was entirely owing to our coun- 
tryman, so he has explained it with all the clearness imaginable ; 

* It is in this point, chiefly, that we shall equally find Harvey to be deficient; 
and, therefore, equally to be set aside, as the discoverer of the circulation, upon the 
eame principle that Friend lays down for the rejection of his predecessor. 

xxiv dr. friend's remarks on the 

and though much has been since written upon that subject, I may 
venture to say his own book is the shortest, the plainest, and the 
most convincing of any ; as we may be satisfied if we look into 
the many apologies written in defence of the circulation, or have 
the patience to read the tedious uninstructive treatise of Raymond 

This new doctrine of the circulation, however proved beyond 
all doubt in a demonstrative way, met with great opposition ; 
and the inventor of it was obliged to bear the attacks of number- 
less adversaries; who, generally, in their answers, showed more 
a spirit of contradiction, than any force of reasoning. The 
learned Gassendus, indeed, acted very differently, and behaved 
with that ingenuity which became a scholar ; and though he had 
formerly very strenuously denied the circulation, and the com- 
munication of the chyle with the blood, yet at last was convinced 
of his error by Pecquet, the discoverer of the receptacle of the 
chyle, and the tracer out of the thoracic duct in a human body ; 
and as soon as he was convinced, he expressed great joy, that, 
dying as he was, he had come to the knowledge of these two 
important discoveries ; adding, that he looked upon these two 
truths, which prove one another, as the two poles, upon which 
all physic for the future ought to turn. 

From this discovery of our great countryman, many improve- 
ments, even in the cure of distempers, might be made ; he had 
thought of composing such a work himself, to show the advantages 
of this doctrine in relation to practice, but was prevented by 
sickness and death ; the design of the architect was very noble, 
and I wish some of his successors might finish it. At present, 
I shall hint only at two or three particulars, which will convince 
us of what use a perfect knowledge of the circulation may be to 
us, if rightly applied in the practical part of our profession. For 
instance, this doctrine will let us see the reasonableness of tying 
up the arteries in amputations, as it is practised now by our sur- 
geons, and how much preferable this method is, to that old, 
painful, and cruel one, of stopping the blood by cauteries, caus- 
tics, or escharotics alone. Besides avoiding an extreme torment 
in this case, we know that the blood, by the laws of its motion, 
must continually bound against the eschar of the divided vessel 


with such a force, as nothing besides a ligature can well resist. 
The invention* of this method was owing to Parey, who, as he 
says himself, had never either seen or heard of its being prac- 
tised before, but had taken the hint of it from a passage in Galen 
concerning wounds, and made the experiment of it with such 
success, that he thinks it came into his head by inspiration. And 
no doubt, without inspiration, if we would revolve often in our 
thoughts what the ancient physicians have written upon any 
particular subject, new hints would occur to us, not only in re- 
lation to that very case, but what may be applied, as in this in- 
stance from Parey, to some other. This practice of Parey was 
indeed before the discovery of the circulation ; but yet I question 
whether or no it would have been so much in vogue, did not 
this doctrine evidently convince men of the usefulness of it : as 
we may have leave to infer from observing, that it was a prac- 
tice but slowly received in several countries, nay, even in France 
itself, if we may judge by Vigierius's account of it, and but of late 
years revived, or rather introduced among ourselves. However, 
the Germans are but little acquainted with it; liildanus himself 
speaks but slightly of it ; and the Dutch, as Nuck informs us, 
entirely reject it. This doctrine likewise explains to us, how 
upon amputation, when the trunk of the artery is cut off, the 
course of the blood is nevertheless preserved ; the lesser arterial 
branches in this case supply the defect, and by distending them- 
selves gradually to a greater dimension, are able to furnish those 
parts with what is necessary for motion and nourishment. A 
problem which can never be solved by any other principles than 
those of the circulation ; and is so far from being an objection, 
as some ignorant writers make it, against this doctrine, that it 
is one, and not the least, demonstrative proof of it. Once more, 
this doctrine at first sight shows us the true method, (as it is 
now practised amongst our own surgeons, who yield to none 
either in their skill of anatomy, or the ancient surgery,) of treat- 
ing aneurisms, which arise upon a puncture; how, instead of 

* Here is another invention claimed ("or a modern, who acknowledges he took 
the hint from Galen. Galen, however, gives more than a hint, of the familiar use 
of ligatures to stop bleeding, and that in more than one place of his writings. 


xxvi dr. friend's remarks on the circulation. 

using compression, which seldom stops the current in the artery, 
we ought, after having made proper ligatures, to divide the ves- 
sel ; and that we ought not only to tie the artery above the 
puncture, but below it too, as in the case of a varix, in order to 
hinder any supply of blood from other branches, which every 
where almost in the body communicate with one another. It 
has been observed before, that the practice of another nation is 
very defective in this point. Galen, and all who follow him, order 
that revulsion should be always made on the same side, because 
it may be greater ; and the reason they give for it, if it be rea- 
son, is because there is a greater consent of the parts on the right 
side with the right veins, and of the left with the left. 

Accordingly, for many years, for almost two centuries, it was 
as warm a controversy as ever was in physic, whether in a 
pleurisy, a vein should be opened on the same or on the opposite 
side. I mention this chiefly to show, that they had no true no- 
tion of revulsion before the circulation was demonstrated, what- 
ever some injudicious zealots for the ancients would pretend; and, 
indeed, it is impossible to understand any thing of this doctrine 
without a knowledge of the circulation. This, in one moment, 
lets us see where the strongest revulsion may be made ; and as 
to the manner of bleeding mentioned in a pleurisy, it shows us, 
that bleeding on the same side does, indeed, somewhat more 
immediately revell, but that at the same time the difference is so 
minute, that one would wonder there ever could have been any 
dispute about it. I may add, in regard to bleeding in general, 
that the circulation has quite confounded and superseded all those 
rules, which had been before with so much pains and formality 
laid down, as to opening, in particular cases, this or that vein ; 
and though the ignorant part of the faculty has lost a good pre- 
tence of driving on this way a trade in physic, and of making a 
mystery, where there is none; those surely who understand their 
profession must acknowledge, that they have this advantage at 
least from the circulation, of knowing exactly how indifferent it 
often is, which vein is made choice of; or if there be any pre- 
ference, of judging without any hesitation, which vein to choose. 



The English translation of Harvey's treatise, de Motu Cordis, 
to which I have referred in the Preface ; and which I have 
compared with the Latin copy, is only tolerably correct, and 
very imperfect in parts, as I shall hereafter point out, and it is, 
moreover, written in the quaint phraseology, and the peculiar 
orthography of the period. (1673.) — We have here the author's 
dedication to King Charles L, to whom he was physician, and 
by whom he appears to have been both highly and deservedly 
esteemed. To it, I refer, chiefly, for the purpose of introducing 
a single extract, which, as it so much resembles others, hereafter 
to be noticed, I shall not at present dilate upon ; but only request 
the reader to keep perpetually in mind, that after nearly twenty 
years, from the first public promulgation of his opinions, to the 
time of printing them in 1628; and, when all opposition to the 
mere doctrine of a circulation may be regarded as having 
ceased ; Harvey entreats the King, to " accept, according to 
his accustomed bounty and clemency, these new things concern- 
ing the heart :" and, as we proceed in the consideration of his 
book, let the reader equally ask, what are these new things, on 
which Harvey so continually dwells? — and whether any of them, 
to which he refers, were absolutely " unheard of," as he expresses 
himself, (ch. 8.,) before he made them known. Should it be ac- 
knowledged that he has not stated a single circumstance, that, 
individually considered, cannot be pointed out in previous writers, 
the question naturally presents itself, for the reply of every mem- 


ber of the profession, — To what part, or proportion, of the dis- 
covery of the circulation, is Harvey truly entitled ? 

Following the preceding dedication, we find another; ad- 
dressed to " the President of the College of Physicians in Lon- 
don — and the rest of the Doctors and Physicians, his most 
loving collegs." In this, we find him stating, that he had opened 
many times before, his " opinion concerning the motion of the 
heart, and circulation of the blood," — that it had been " confirm- 
ed by ocular demonstration for nine years and more," before 
them; — had been "evidenced by reasons, and arguments, freed 
from the objections of the most learned and skilful anatomists, 
desired by some, and most earnestly required by others" — adding, 
that he had " at last set it out in this little book" — which " only 
book does affirm the blood to pass forth and return through un- 
wonted tracts, contrary to the received way, through so many 
ages of years insisted upon, and evidenced by innumerable, and 
those most famous and learned men, I was greatly afraid to 
suffer this little book, other ways perfect some years ago, either 
to come abroad, or go beyond seas, lest it might seem an action 
too full of arrogancy, if I had not first propounded it to you, 
confirmed it by ocular testimony, answered your doubts and 
objections, and gotten the President's verdict in my favour ; yet 
I was persuaded if I could maintain what I proposed in the 
presence of you and our college, having been famous by so many, 
and so great men, I needed so much the less to be afraid of 
others, and that only comfort, which for the love of the truth 
you did grant me, might likewise be hoped for, from all who 
were philosophers of the same nature," &c, with much more 
to the same purpose, and terminating a long paragraph, by 
affirming that all studious, good, and honest men, " seeing they 
very well know that all men may erre, and many things are 
found out by chance, which any one may learn of another, an 
old man of a child, or an understanding man of a fool." 

I should not have thought it necessary to refer at all to this 
dedicatory epistle, except, to prove from it, his full assumption 
of the claim, in all its bearings, of the discovery of the circula- 
tion, without the slightest qualification of the rights of others ; 
and also, for the following plainly expressed language, held by 



hini, and strongly reiterated in other parts; by which it is con- 
spicuous, that he thought it unnecessary to oppose, by argument 
or additional proof, himself, any of the objections that had been 
advanced, either to the fact of a circulation, or as to its origina- 
ting with him : so far from doing this, and thus sustaining his 
claims in any respect, it appears evident, that he altogether gave 
the go-by to all the adversaries of his system. Riolan seems the 
only individual of his opponents, to whom he addressed a single 
line upon so interesting and important a subject ; and from his 
language, it would seem, that he really feared him, and was 
desirous of deprecating the criticism of one of, if not the first 
anatomist then living. The language of the dedication to which 
I refer, is as follows : " But, my loving collegs, I had no de- 
sire in this Treatise to make a great volume, and to ostentate 
my memory, and labours, and my readings, in rehearsing, toss- 
ing the works, names, and opinions of the authors and writers 
of anatomy, both because I do not profess to learn and teach 
anatomy from the axioms of philosophers, but from dissections, 
and from the fabrick of nature. As likewise that I do not en- 
deavour, nor think it fit, to defraud any of the ancients of the 
honour due to them, nor provoke any of the moderns ; nor do I 
think it seemly to contest and strive with those that have been 
excellent in anatomy, and were my teachers. Moreover, 1 would 
not willingly lay an aspersion of falsehood upon any that is de- 
sirous of the truth, nor blemish any man by accusing him of an 
error ; but I follow the truth only, and have bestowed both my 
pains and charges to that purpose, that I might bring forth some- 
thing which might be both acceptable to good men, agreeable to 
learned men, and profitable to literature." 

Such then are the reasons assigned, at the very first printed 
promulgation of these " new and unheard of things," that were 
to subvert the medical literature of all preceding ages, for not 
engaging in the defence of his opinions against anatomists and 
others; many of whom, we may affirm, from his own subse- 
quent confession, he neither had, nor intended to read ! And, 
whether he has not actually defrauded any of the ancients ; or, 
at least, taken no steps to " ostentate their memory or labours," 
must be judged of from the fact, that his work was printed long 


after his opinions had been promulgated privately and in lectures; 
and when many pieces had appeared against them. Surely, 
possessing such veneration for truth, it might have been expected 
that Harvey would, at least, have done his "teachers" the simple 
act of justice, of giving to each one his due ; but whether this 
is the case, will be best judged of by the sequel ! In proof of 
what is above stated, that Harvey never read the writings of his 
opponents, we have his own testimony, in the following words, 
from his 2d Exercitation to Riolan, p. 131, when referring to 
the objections that had been made to his opinions ; and which he 
appears to have severely felt. " It cannot be eschewed but dogs 
will bark, and belch up their surfeits ; nor can it be helped, but 
that the Cynics will be amongst the number of the philosophers : 
but we must take a special care that they do not bite, nor infect 
us with their cruel madness, or lest they should with their dogs'- 
teeth gnaw the very bones or principles of truth !" 

This language comports well, it must be allowed, with that 
which I have extracted above, from his dedicatory epistle to 
the College ! — but he does not diminish in virulence as he pro- 
ceeds ! — nor vindicate his claim to his assertion, of " not blem- 
ishing any man." It is true, he does not " lay aspersions" upon any 
one in particular, by name ; but, it will readily be admitted, that 
his "railing" is of a wholesale description, which might be made 
to apply in any direction ! thus he goes on, " Detractors, momes, 
and writers stained with railing, as I never intended to read any 
of them, (from whom nothing of solidity, nor any thing extraordi- 
nary is to be hoped for, but bad words,) so did I much less think 
them worthy of an answer : let them enjoy their own cursed na- 
ture ; I believe they will find but a few favourable readers ; 
neither does God give wisdom to the wicked, which is the most 
excellent gift, and most to be sought for. Let them rail on still, 
till they be weary (if not ashamed) of it !" 

Harvey, we perceive, here directly avows his not reading the 
writings of these detractors, momes, and railers; but having 
omitted to name them, conjecture alone can be advanced as to 
whom he refers ! It is indirectly, therefore, that we may be 
enabled to fix upon them, and form some judgment respecting 
them. I cannot say with positive certainty, that I have looked 


into their writings, which I unquestionably should have done, 
had Harvey named them, and I could by any means have pro- 
cured them ; not merely as matter of curiosity, but likewise of 
real importance, in order to ascertain what they could urge 
against the doctrines of a circulation, proved by experiments 
conclusive in their nature, and by no means in opposition, as we 
hope to show, with the opinions of different writers, through a 
long series of years. But, are we not entitled to ask, How did 
Harvey know, if he never read their writings, that these men, 
(mere opponents in a scientific research of infinite importance,) 
were really the unworthy characters he thus proclaims them to 
be, and altogether fools, as well as knaves ? Was it heresy jn 
them to differ from Harvey, on points, assumed by him, to be 
both "new and unheard of?" — Was his ipse dixit fully to es- 
tablish the truth of his new opinions, without further investigation 
and research 1 And were his asserted facts not to- be questioned 
by any one ? Surely, when this conduct of Harvey is fairly 
considered, it will be regarded as arising from some apprehen- 
sion of a due inquiry into his rights ; rather than from that anxious 
desire of truth which he so much dwells on, whether from him- 
self, or the hands of others ! Does the reader perceive, in this fear, 
(or at least omission,) of consulting his opponents, a desire, fairly 
to throw down the gauntlet of inquiry ? To me, with all my reve- 
rence and respect for Harvey, I think he has placed himself, at 
least, in a suspicious situation, as to the motives of his neglect ; 
and whatever may be said to counteract this impression will, I 
apprehend, be more and more unavailing, the more it is contem- 
plated ! To keep back, from any cause, the sentiments of those 
opposed to him ; but more so, if from one, which science has, 
perhaps, a right to estimate a false pretence, is surely no great 
recommendation ; nor does it comport with the celebrated axiom 
of " Amicus Plato, &c. sed magis arnica Veritas !" Flattering 
the stern and inflexible professor of anatomy in the University 
of Paris, and equally, with himself, a king's physician ; but who 
cared neither for Harvey, nor for his opinions, any further than, 
as an anatomist and physiologist, he considered them correct ; to 
those of inferior standing, his harshness and intolerance is con- 
spicuous, by the above quoted philippics, and still more so, when 


coupled with the avowal, that he never read them ! It is ob- 
vious, that he did not coincide in the justice of the adage, 
" Fas est ab hoste doceri ;" and, if this acknowledged omission, 
under the futile pretences assigned by him, is any evidence of 
candour ; or of modest and earnest desire to learn the opinions 
of others on a " new and unheard of" subject, of which he 
claims to be the discoverer ; then indeed, it may be considered 
altogether useless to oppose any dogma in science, or any hypo- 
thesis in the discussion of truth ! Whether, although so bland in 
his expressions in the dedicatory epistle; and apparently, so 
desirous of " not provoking any of the moderns ;" he has not be- 
stowed railing for railing, in language by no means equivocal, 
in that extract from his epistle to Riolan, will scarcely be denied 
by his warmest advocates ! Will they, as they formerly did, 
advocate his writings in every respect ? And may we not ask, 
whether, like himself, many do not, now, admire and judge of him 
from simple hear-say ; and without having given his writings a 
single thought, much less a perusal ! 

This, however, is by no means all. We will admit those de- 
tractors, momes, and railers, (without knowing who they were,) 
on his own assertion, to have been deserving of neglect and scorn, 
from their strenuous opposition to the new discoveries and doc- 
trines of Harvey. They were, it is to be remembered, his con- 
temporaries, and might be presumed, felt jealous of his fame : 
but why has he not done a whit more justice to the great body 
of writers who preceded him ? and who of course were opponents, 
if at all, by anticipation alone ? Of this, I think no doubt can 
be entertained, when we come to mention individual facts in 
proof. Now, if Harvey knew them not, it proclaims an igno- 
rance, which we cannot credit ; and, if he knew, but chose to 
omit what they may have advanced in their writings, in rela- 
tion to what he claims exclusively ; is it too harsh to say, that 
it bespeaks a little mind, and a contempt of truth, which have 
not commonly been associated with his character ? I shall be 
much gratified, if, by any explanation, this unpleasing association 
can be dissevered. 


To the dedicatory epistle of Dr. Harvey succeeds a preface, 
by the apparent editor, Dr. Zachary Wood ; wherein we find 
Harvey's claims thus summarily stated — and containing much 
other matter, that may be regarded as the echo of those claims ; 
as well as of his complaints, which I have above noticed, 
and commented on; and which, perhaps, ought more fully to be 
reviewed, in as much as it is the production of one who appears 
to have seen nothing but perfection in Harvey ; and nought but 
imperfection in those who differed from him ! I shall, however, 
limit myself to one or two passages ; for all will more or less be 
touched on, as we proceed to analyze the different chapters of 
Dr. Harvey's book. 

Dr. Wood commences with some remarks on opposition to 
new inventions, and then proceeds thus : " Dr. William Harvey, 
king's physician, and professor of anatomy in the College oi 
Physicians in London, has set out a new and unheard of 
opinion concerning the motion of the heart, and circulation of 
the blood, which is briefly thus : First, the ear of the heart con- 
tracts itself; in that contraction it thrusts out the blood con- 
tained in it, into the ventricle of the heart, which being filled, 
the heart is dilated, and straightwayes it contracts the ven- 
tricles, and makes a pulsation, by which pulsation it thrusts forth 
the blood thrown into it, into the arteries out of the left ventricle, 
and out of the right into the lungs through the vena arteriosa, 
from whence immediately it is snatched into the left ventricle 
through the arteria venosa, and by it driven out into the aorta, 
and so afterwards into the whole body through the arteries ; the 
blood so driven out into the habit of the body, passes from the 
arteries again into the veins, and returns into the vena cava, and 
from it into the right ear of the heart, and then into the right 
ventricle, and so afterwards it passes through the same circle as 
before, and so continually, from whence he calls that motion of 
the blood, Circulation."—" Truly, (adds Dr. Wood,) a bold man 
indeed, O disturber of the quiet of physicians ! O seditious citizen 
of the physical commonwealth! who first of all durst oppose an 
opinion confirmed for so many ages by the consent of all," &c. 
and, proceeding in a long train of remarks, to prove the propriety 
ofwhatnoone will doubt, that of advancing new opinions— 


provided they are accompanied by adequate proof. " Time," 

says Dr. Wood, " will blot out the inventions of opinions, and 

confirm the judgments of truth," — referring in proof of this to 

the fact, that Vopiscus Fortunatus Plempius, of Lovain, Doctor 

of Physic and of Arts, "having testified by speech and writing 

against the Harveian invention, and endeavoured to refute and 

explode it ; was himself refuted and exploded by the persuasive 

and forcible reasons of Harvey." Now this is all as it should be ; 

since few can withstand the demonstration of the circulation, as 

laid down by Harvey ; and yet many, if they could be persuaded 

to enter fully on the inquiry, would probably be unwilling to 

grant to him the exclusive claim of this brilliant discovery, to 

the full extent in which it has been generally awarded ! Whether 

I shall be successful in pleading for Harvey's predecessors, as 

dividing the merit with him, must be left to the decision of others :* 

a failure in so doing will, in my opinion, rather prove the 

weakness of the advocate; but will by no means diminish 

their claims to a participation. 

It may not be improper here, although only in connexion with 
the preface of Dr. Wood, to state some circumstances in respect 
to Plempius, who is thus brought forward by him ; since Harvey 
has no where referred to him; and a better opportunity will 
consequently not present itself; and we shall begin by allowing 
Plempius to speak for himself. See his Fundamenta Medicinal 
3d ed. in fol. printed at Lovain in 1654, or 26 years subsequent 
to Harvey's publication. In lib. 2. p. 128, De Sanguinis Circu- 
latione, he thus expresses himself: — 

» Nuper Anglia novam peperit de motu cordisopinionem, quam invul- 
gavit Guhelmus Harveus Medicus Regis Anglic, et Anatomes in Collegio 
Londinensi Professor edito ea de re peculiari libello." Here he gives the 
route of the circulation, and then continues: "Hoc suum commentum 
multis vensimilibus rationibus adstruit ; adeo ut jam multis doctis hodie ad- 
ridere indpiat, nomineturque honoris causa a quodara populari suo, circula- 
tor microcosmi ad distmctionem alterius Angli, qui primus macrocosmum 
circuivit. Pnmum mini inventum hoc non placuit, quod et voce et scripto 
pubhee testatus sum ; sed dum postea ei refutando et explodendo vehemen 
tins incumbo, refutor ipse et explodor ; adeo sunt rationes ejus non persua- 
dentes, sed cogentes : diligenter omnes examinavi, et in vivis aliquot canibus 
eum in finem a me dissectis verissimas comperi ; hoc ut facerem, monitus 
quoque a Clariss. Walseo Professore Leidensi, cujus viri candido sedatoque 


ingenio et judicio plurimum tribuo, multumque in hac ipsa materia accep- 
tum refero." 

I shall merely notice, for the sake of those who may wish to 
consult the views of Walaeus on this subject ; that they will find 
them in two letters addressed to the celebrated anatomist, T. 
Bartholine, in 1640; and printed in his treatise on anatomy; 
as likewise in the Institutiones Anatomicas of Caspar Bartholine. 

In the above quotation from Plempius, we find infinite reason 
to respect him, as yielding his prejudices to the conviction of 
truth ; — in prosecuting the subject, he notices many particulars, 
indicative of the previous and preparatory knowledge that must 
have influenced the more correct exposition of the circulation as 
laid down by Harvey ; and by which he appears to have sub- 
jected himself to the animadversions of some of the most active 
opponents of the Harveian doctrines, as we shall presently men- 
tion. Among the particulars he notices, is one, on which Har- 
vey lays very great stress ; viz. that in the arm, tied up for 
bleeding, the veins swell below and not above the ligature; — 
showing that the blood must ascend from the hand, and not de- 
scend from above ; and he then adds, " Ea, certe re ad versa 
Caesalpinus convictus probavit sanguinem ad cor adscendere ; 
sanguinis tamen circulationem ignoravit." Admitting this to be 
the case ; nevertheless, if it also be admitted that from this esta- 
blished fact, Caesalpinus judged the blood to ascend to the heart; 
surely it is to be viewed as an important link in the chain of the 
circulation, thus presented to Harvey, by a man who died (1603) 
before he had matured his views respecting it ; and on which he 
founds some of his strongest arguments in support of his claim. 

Whilst Plempius (p. 131) fully maintains the anastomoses of 
the arteries and veins, as one of their modes of communication, 
(" Primo, facillime per anastomoses, quibus arteriae venis jun- 
guntur : arteriae enim quibusdam osculis in venas perviae sunt," 
&c.) and mentions facts in proof; he very properly states it to 
have been known to Galen, and quotes him in the following 
words, (from lib. 3. cap. 15. de Nat. facult.) "Haec venarum 
atque arteriarum anastomosis Galeno etiam nota fuit, nam in- 
quit, ' Si multis amplisque arteriis praecisis jugulare per eas ani- 
mal velis, invenies ejus venas <b ue atque arterias vacuatasj quod 


sane nunquam fieret, nisi inter se haberent altera in alteram ora 
reclusa.' " And again, lib. 6. de off. part. cap. 10 : " In toto 
corpore mutua est anastomosis atque oscillorum apertio arteriis 
simid et venis, transsumuntque ex sese pariter sanguinem et 
spiritum per invisibiles quasdam atque angustas plane vias." A 
second mode of communication is maintained by Plempius, and it 
is that, which Harvey has adopted singly— divesting himself there- 
by, altogether, of the advantages of the Galenian anastomosis; 
which, we shall strive hereafter to prove, it was his great en- 
deavour to avoid, so as to divest thereby Galen of one important 
support of his ideas of a circulation. " Secundo," says Plempius, 
" sanguis ex arteriis per ipsam etiam carnem venas subire potest" 
giving a very inadequate proof of it, I think, and, as I believe, he 
partly judged himself, from the expressions following : " Neque 
hoc dictu absonum est existimandum." But he had no doubt of 
the fact itself, since he repeatedly renews the assertion, — thus, 
p. 131, when speaking of the non-pulsation of the veins, he says, 
" Nee propterea Venae debent pulsare, etsi sanguinem ex arteriis 
continenter accipiant ; nam non accipiant sanguinem ex arteriis 
per directos candles et cum impulsu ; sed per modum transsuda- 
tionis aut colationis per partium substantiam, vel per angustas 

If Harvey really accredited this porous infiltration of the 
blood, and this alone, as we believe was the fact ; he, certainly, 
was but very partially acquainted with the most important part 
of the circulation ; and has failed like others in the full attain- 
ment of his object : for, if the mode of intercommunication be- 
tween the arteries and veins was not truly determined by him ; 
how can he be hailed as the exclusive discoverer ? For, it may 
with safety be affirmed, that even now, after two hundred years 
of controversy between the anastomoses of Galen, and the 
porosities of Harvey, the dispute is not settled; and probably never 
will be ; since it appertains to a mere point as it were in the 
body, too small for even microscopic certainty; and, with But- 
ler, we may well repeat, that 

He needs optics sharp, I ween, 
Who sees what is not to be seen. 

Conjecture may be busy — but it is not proof: and, if Harvey has 



rendered his no stronger ; nay, not even as strong as Galen's, 
even without the co-operation of injections and microscopes, how 
can we possibly assent to his exclusive claims to a complete dis- 
covery 1 On the subject of the pores, much remains to be said, 
for it appears to have been one of the hobby-horses that Harvey 
rode, and we shall repeatedly have to revert to it. 

At p. 149, Plempius, speaking of the veins, mentions, as worthy 
of note, certain membranes in their cavity, " quas valvulas vo- 
cavit Aquapendens earurn. inventor"— \he which are not unlike 
those that are found in the heart, and they " impediunt ne sanguis 
refluat." That Aquapendente was unacquainted with their use, 
we are told by Harvey ; but Plempius, with an opening so full, 
to give the whole credit to Harvey, says not a word that would 
suggest the idea of his ignorance in this particular. Although, 
amongst the particular points for which the ancients have been 
ridiculed, and their knowledge of a circulation absolutely denied ; 
one is, that nutrition was ascribed by them to the veins ; yet here, 
we shall see, that Plempius accredited this error, at least, in 
part ; and that Harvey was, probably, quite as fully imbued with 
it, we shall show hereafter ; evincing that, if even allowing him 
full credit for his discovery of the circulation ; it added nothing 
to the correctness of his physiology ! Plempius says, " De usu 
venarum convenit inter omnes, quod sanguinem pro totius nutri- 
tione deferant et distribuant" And again, in this chapter, on the 
veins, he adverts to the passage of the blood to them, by the pores 
of the flesh : " Nam carnes non trahunt ex venis sanguinem, sed 
vence ex carnibus trahunt. Hoc nos docet sanguinis circulatio: 
impettitur nempe ex arteriis sanguis in carnes ; hinc in venas 
currit: ita ut carnes prascipue nutriuntur sanguine, qui ex arte- 
riis venit ; est enim idem atque ille qui venis concluditur : sed 
tamen in transitu carnes ex venis quoque aliquod emulgent." 
quote this, not to disparage either Plempius or Harvey ; for I 
believe, that even now, we know but little more on the subject of 
nutrition than either of them : but merely to repeat, that a similar 
impression, on the part of Galen, of venous nutrition, has been 
one strong argument against his knowledge of a circulation. I 
shall, in another part of this essay, endeavour to prove, that 


Galen, in this particular, knew better what he was about, than 
either of the individuals mentioned. 

At p. 170, Plempius takes up the consideration of the vital 
faculty, which he considers as chiefly residing in the heart, and 
as being of a double character. This leads of course to a notice 
of the motion of the heart and arteries; and to a view of the 
Harveian opinions in this respect — of which we shall elsewhere 
take notice. It is merely now adverted to, to state that we have 
in this chapter, a long and interesting letter of Feb. 15, 1638; 
from the celebrated Des Cartes to Plempius — which is worth 
perusal. Aristotle, it seems, ascribed the pulsific faculty to the 
heat of the blood ; and, as Plempius says, he thus endeavoured 
to take it from nature. Plempius sustains the opinion that this 
pulsific faculty " in corde toto residet," and he notices this ancient 
dogma of Aristotle, as having been nearly subverted by Galen, 
and exploded from the schools, " until, of late," adds he, " William 
Harvey, physician to the English king, and the most ingenious 
Cartesius, a noble Frenchman, have attempted to restore it." It 
would appear that this led to a correspondence, and the Carte- 
sian letters thus are introduced. I should not have thought of 
referring to these particulars, had it not been of high importance 
in another part of this essay, in relation to the consideration of 
an experiment detailed by Galen, and which is noticed by a vast 
number of writers, previous to the time of Harvey, when treat- 
ing of the interesting topic of the pulse. The use I propose to 
make of it will be seen, when I come to mention it, as he speaks 
of it ; when I shall give the experiment in Galen's own words, 
that no mistake may be made. At present I shall merely add, 
that it consisted in putting a pipe into an artery, and then tying 
the artery upon it, so as to still keep up the circulation through 
the included pipe, although the pulse will not be felt beyond it. 
A rude sketch is given of this arrangement by Des Cartes, and 
commented upon. With all this we have nothing to do at 
present : the reader will please to keep in mind the experiment, 
and the circumstance of the correspondence of Plempius with 
Des Cartes, for both will be the objects of future remark. 

Before taking leave of Plempius (V. F.) it will not be alto- 
gether irrelevant to state, that, Dr. James Primrose, of London, 


who was one of the first, and most uniform opponents of Dr. 
Harvey, seems to have been also a thorn in the side of Fopiscus 
F. Plempius. We do not learn this from any notice from Vo- 
piscus himself: but, he appears to have received from Harvey's 
and Plempius' advocates the most extraordinary castigation, in 
terms of reprobation, altogether unprecedented, and in language 
unfit for scientific researches ! Whether he deserved it, I know 
not : for his writings I have never seen ; excepting some of the 
quotations which are made from his attack on Plempius, in the 
works alluded to ; and as a few of them are in a measure con- 
nected with our subject, I shall not hesitate to mention them. 
Among his writings, a catalogue of which is given by Vander- 
linden ; from which I should judge him by no means a contemp- 
tible or igzioble adversary ; we perceive one, entitled, " Destructio 
Fundamentorum Medicinae Vopisci Fortunati Plempii, ubi 
breviter 400 ipsius errores demonstrantur." This was printed 
in 1657, three years after Plempius, and is that which gave rise 
to two replies ; the one by G. L. Blasius in 1659, entitled, " Im- 
petus Primrosii in Plempium retusus." The other, by Francis 
Plempius, nephew to Fortunatus, entitled, " Munitio Fundamen- 
torum V. F. Plempii, adversus J. Primrosium," and printed in 
the same year with the preceding. If Primrose was wanting in 
urbanity to the elder Plempius ; who certainly was entitled to 
every respect from his character and standing ; these, his advo- 
cates, are perfectly ferocious. Blasius, especially, much to our 
edification, not satisfied with calling him the Princeps Zoilorum, 
tells him in various places, "tua illatio nullius est considera- 
tionis" — " miror non erubescas" — " falsum est." What led to 
all this, may be difficult to say, and still more so to vindicate. 
In referring to that part of V. F. P.'s works, that have connexion 
with the circulation, Primrose says, "Nunc ad circulationem 
sanguinis est deveniendum, de qua sat multa scripsi, et cum 
rationibus multis et, experimentis obruissem circulatores,* illi 
mihi contumelias re-ponunV This language, would seem as if 
he had not been the first assailant. It serves also to explain in 

* This term, was applied by Primrose, jocularly, to designate the advocates of 
the circulation : his castigators have however assumed it, as if he meant to speak 
of them as quacks, which the word implies. 


some measure, the unmeasured words and language of Harvey, 
to which I have already referred. 

Francis Plempius is not more mild than Blasius ; and perhaps, 
as a nephew, may be more readily excused. He gives us, al- 
most immediately, a philippic that partly opens the source of 
contention, in the following words, p. 2. : " Primum anno 1630, 
adgressus es Gulielmum Harveum Regis archiatrum, Anglias 
decus et ornamentum, qui ut aquam in macrocosmo, ita in mi- 
crocosmo sanguinem in orbem ire demonstravit. Quae aggressio 
quam infeliciter tibi cesserit, omnes videmus ; quidquid etiamnum 
manibus pedibusque contra agites. Quid vero Harvseus ? quid ? 
non pluris tuum scriptum fecit, quam Dionis gry. Imbecilla tua 
argumenta in contrarium adducta nullo responso dignatus est; 
despexit ut villaticum canem Cynthia noctu baubantem. Aquila 
cum cornice non congreditur." He proceeds to repeat much 
the same, as to his uncle not replying to Primrose ; and then 
goes on to animadvert on his remarks with caustic acrimony. 
Yet, if I can judge, from what is said, Primrose was often cor- 
rect ; as I shall attempt to show, in that part only, however, 
where F. Plempius begins his observations on Primrose's ani- 
madversions on the circulation, which begin with the above 
quotation, " Nunc ad circulationem sanguinis est deveniendum," 
p. 133. We have already noticed V. F. Plempius' views of the 
return of the blood, " per anastomoses venarum et arteriarum ;" 
adverting to this, Primrose says, p. 143, " Falsum est in brachio 
ab humero ad extremam manum dari ullum anastomosin inter 
venas et arterias. Idem dicendum de pede." To this Plempius 
replies, by an " Audax dictum." Much to the benefit of science, 
and of the particular object in question, doubtless ! But is it not 
capable of explanation, so as to vindicate both Primrose and 
Plempius? We have seen that Plempius (Vopiscus) refers to 
Galen, as maintaining this anastomoses of arteries and veins. 
Now, the whole appears to me to rest on the different ideas that 
each party seems to have had of the meaning of the term. If 
by anastomosis in this case, is meant, such as is seen in the dif- 
ferent branches of the arteries or veins, respectively; certainly 
this is not the fact. That is, the large branches of arteries and 
veins are not thus conjoined by mutual anastomosis ; and Prim- 


rose would be correct : but if it was only intended to mean, the 
ultimate connexion of the capillary branches of veins and arteries; 
then, anatomy seems to bear out the proposition ; and Primrose 
would be wrong. I must, however, think, from the subsequent 
part of Francis Plempius' explanatory dicta on the point; that he 
at least, (and doubtless his uncle had similar ideas — see his Fun- 
damenta, p. 131.) affirms this anastomosis of the large branches 
of these different kinds of vessels. " Vidit ne ergo ipse omnium 
corpora? natura varie ludit in corporum fabrica; et vix ullum 
alteri simile omnino est, praesertim in vasorum distributione. Sit 
tamen ita ; in quibusdam non reperiatur anastomosis media ab 
humero ad extremam usque manum : at in omnibus hoc non ob- 
tinet." This, he illustrates by a case he thinks in point : that of 
a person who fainted on losing a small amount of blood from the 
right arm ; but which did not occur when the left arm was 
punctured. Seeking for the cause of this difference, he says, that 
" Compertum est, in dextro brachio subjacere venae mediae arte- 
riam, quae sive per anastomosin seu transsudationem spiritus 
vitales in venam mitteret, a quibus evacuatis subitus ille virium 
lapsus." Will the reader imagine that Primrose deserved ob- 
loquy for opposing such notions? or can it be asserted, that the 
knowledge of the circulation had enlightened that generation, 
even of those who most fully accredited it ? All that these vin- 
dicators of Harvey asserted, they derived from him; whether, 
as in the above instance, or when he assumes the blood, " ex 
arteriis per ipsam carnem venas subire potest !" 

In considering the reason, p. 145, "Cur venae igitur non pul- 
sant ?" Primrose says, " Nonne sufficit ut sanguis tarn rapide in 
eas'ex arteriis feratur, quoquo modo accedat." From whence we 
might suppose that he was not partial to either opinion. But 
Plempius replies, " Nequaquam id sufficit ; sed requiritur ad 
micationem illam, utper directos canales et cum impulsu sanguis 
incitetur: venas autem sanguis ingreditur per modum transsuda- 
tionis aut colationis per partium substantiam, vel per angustas 
anastomoses." There is then no mistake in this ; nor can it be 
doubted, that this was precisely the sentiment of Harvey him- 
self: which, if admitted, assuredly lessens his claim to be con- 
sidered as the sole discoverer of the circulation ; and in a measure 



vindicates the rude manner in which his doctrines were by many 
treated! We must be allowed to pursue this a little further, in 
order to vindicate Primrose ; and to render it probable that he 
actually comprehended this very particular, better, than either 
Harvey or Plempius : and that the desecration too commonly 
poured out upon him, for opposing Harvey, is both unjust and 
undeserved. It was the opinion of Hippocrates that the different 
parts, flesh, &c. derived their nourishment from the veins : (<pXs/%.) 
Now by the term <pXs/3s or vein, was simply meant a canal, or 
channel of conveyance for fluids of any kind, and hence, equally 
applicable to both the arteries and veins. In order to distinguish 
them, however, the artery, from its motion, was called the pul- 
sating phlebs ; the vein, nonpulsating phlebs. We may, therefore, 
without any fear of an absolute contradiction, venture to suppose, 
that when Hippocrates speaks of the veins affording nourishment, 
he meant the pulsating veins or arteries : but, contrary to this, 
adds Primrose, p. 149, "Ait Plempius, vena? trahuntex carnibus 
quod ego supra refutavi, nam nutritio impediretur." And may 
we not ask, was he not correct '( Plempius replies with, " Et ego 
supra refutationem illam refutavi." No ways discouraged, it 
would seem, Primrose, disbelieving the Harveian creed, goes on 
as follows : " Utut sit etiamsi vera foret circulatio, sententia 
Hippocratis maneret vera, ratione arteriarum, nam saltern carries 
trahent ex arteriis, quomodo enim ex his in substantiam effluit 
sanguis, non expulsus, arteriae enim per anastomoses expellunt in 
venas ; sed carnes ex illis attrahunt sanguinem prseparatum, idque 
per diapedesin, alias si expelleretur, in carnibus promiscue foret 
quilibet sanguis, nam expulsio non ponit differentiam, sed utile 
cum inutili expellit." To which Plempius replies, or rather re- 
iterates, " Arteriae expellunt sanguinem in carnes : neque enim 
illae per solas anastomoses adigunt sanguinem in venas, sed etiam 
in carnes, in quas inseruntur, et ex carnibus hauriunt vena," &c. 
So little had the full developement of the circulation had effect, 
in determining the disputes on points of physiology, immediately 
dependent upon it, even after a lapse of several years ! 

No neutrality, it seems, was permitted in the consideration of 
the circulation ! " He that is not with me, is against me !" was 
the war-cry of the Harveians ; and hard names were hurled by 


the opposing inquirers after truth, at one another, too often, it 
may be feared, at the expense of judgment and discretion ! Few 
persons are fond of such unscientific warfare ; and hence, of the 
vast numbers of the profession, comparatively few have left us 
any documents' on either side : but the Harveians being most 
numerous, have carried their point ; and raised an idol for the 
medical profession, that has been tolerated, without his claims 
having ever been, I think, fairly tested or examined. At p. 133, 
Plempius thus anathematizes all who may differ from the party : 
" Qui adversus hunc sanguinis motum commentaria ediderunt, 
umbras modo rerum dant, non lucem afferunt, et apponunt 
Promethei coria intus inania." In all that I can gather from 
this bitter contest, I cannot but think, that, although erroneous 
in his views, Primrose was, as much or more, governed in his 
opposition by a desire of truth, than those who attempted to run 
him aground, by fair and unfair means. 

Plempius proceeds in the next page to state, that " Quapropter 
nulli Harveus respondere dignatus est ; res ipsa et natura patulo 
ore refellit omnes." Now all this is true, and need scarcely have 
been noticed by Plempius, since we have already seen, that 
Harvey was scarcely, if at all, inferior to him, or to Blasius, in 
the art of calling names ! We shall merely add, that Plempius 
thinks these opponents ought neither to be noticed by writing or 
speaking ; but that they should be left as irremediable : adding 
some caustic remarks, lest these poor wretches should too much 
rejoice at so unexpected an act of grace. 

The refrigeration of the blood at a distance from the heart, as 
we shall find most strongly laid down by Harvey, so we find it 
no less powerfully enforced by this writer ! The reader will 
here recollect, that the ancients supposed the lungs were formed, 
as bellows, to ventilate the blood and cool it. Harvey, we shall 
find, cools it at an antipodean distance from them. It appears 
extraordinary, but so it is, that whenever two extremes existed, 
in which, by assuming the one, he could thereby separate him- 
self entirely from the views of Galen, he uniformly did so ; 
without however canvassing the matter, or informing us, by sub- 
stantial reasons, why he differed from his great predecessor ; or 
wherein he was superior, or Galen defective, in proof of their 


respective doctrines. Such is the case in the instance before us < 
Such is the case, also, in his selection of the passage of the blood 
from the arteries to the veins, through the porosities or parenchy- 
ma of the parts, which idea was reprobated by Galen ; whilst he 
opposes Galen's views of an anastomosis of those vessels ; or 
makes use of them, according to one of his strenuous advocates, 
Dr. J. De Back, "only as it may further his purpose!" 

If a complete and full discovery of the circulation led Harvey 
and his followers to the absurdities so frequent in their writings ; 
that discovery could be of but little importance, or must have 
misled them like an ignis fatuus ! Primrose had opposed the 
circulation, from a belief, among other ideas, that " Nutritioni 
nocet, quas quiete perficitur." " Not so," says Plempius, p. 135, 
" so far from hurting it, it tends to promote it ; for without this 
motion of the blood, nutrition in many parts could not be ac- 
complished :" and why ? " Nam in extremis artubus sanguis re- 
frigeratur, crassescit, densatur, fitque nutriendis illis membris 
ineptus, nisi ad fontem caloris etfocum suum revertens, denuo 
incalescat !" This, we shall hereafter have occasion to touch 
upon, again, in regard to Harvey himself, the great luminary, 
around whom, as a minor satellite, Plempius revolves, with re- 
flected light! I must, however, with one further remark, now 
leave Plempius. It is merely to show how grateful to his feelings 
was every possible weapon, by which he could oppose the un- 
fortunate Primrose. The fate of St. Sebastian and of St. Law- 
rence combined; nay, if even that of Marsyas or of St. Bartholo- 
mew could have been superadded, the monies and detractors 
of Harvey would have experienced, had it depended solely on 
the will of some of his satellites! Even the gratification of 
criticising the Latin of Primrose is more than once greedily 
seized upon ; thus, at p. 140, Primrose speaks of opening a 
vein, " intra duas ligaturas propinquas." Plempius says, " Quod 
attinet ad incisionem venae factam inter duo propinqua ligamina : 
{ligaturas dixit ipse barbaro vocabubo" &c.) ; it may admit 
nevertheless of- a question, which of the two is the preferable 
term; whilst the paltry criticism sufficiently indicates the male- 
volent feelings of the writer. 

In this very passage, it may be remarked, that we again find 


the idea upheld, of an anastomosis between the large branches of 
arteries and veins. " Nisi inter duo ista ligamina sit arteriae et. 
venae anastomosis ; quod interdum contingit : turn enim ilia arte- 
ria suppeditabit venae sanguinem emittendum." 

I have thus, in advance, given some insight into the malevolent 
feelings and acrimonious replications of a few of the warmest 
and most intolerant friends of Harvey's opinions to those who 
thought fit to oppose them. Could it however be deemed a 
heresy in medicine, at that time, to canvass fully, and even with 
harshness, doctrines asserted to be new and before unheard of! 
doctrines subversive, as it was said, of Galen, who so long and 
so deservedly sustained the rank of prime minister in the Tem- 
ple of Esculapius ! If delivered from the fetters of Galenical 
rule ; surely, it will not be found that the mind of man was 
much more free under the shackles of Harveian despotism ! 
During a period of ten or twelve centuries, the doctrines of Galen 
bore unlimited sway. His faults and his perfections, are now, 
alike unknown : his interesting volumes are, indeed, (shame on 
the profession !) truly a dead letter ! and what does that profes- 
sion give in. their place ? I pause for a reply; and now proceed 
in my investigation. 

A Procemium or Preface, by Dr. Harvey, follows that of Dr. 
Wood, which we have thus considered. In this, the author's 
intention appears, from the heading to it; viz., " By which is de- 
monstrated, that those things which are already written con- 
cerning the motion and use of the heart and arteries, are not 

I must here entreat the reader's patience, for the apparent ir- 
regularity and repetition in which this book of Dr. Harvey's is 
investigated. It was, however, unavoidable. A hint gave me, 
perhaps, notice of somewhat that might be gained from other 
authority ; and by whom again reference was given to another ; 
prolonging thus my research, but giving some interesting detail, 
which I have not kept back : but which, whilst throwing some 
light upon a ground, held to be so sacred, as to have been but 
rarely trod ; has yet from that cause been rendered almost in- 


capable of* being ranged in any tiling like order, either of place 
or time ; but we hope that its perspicuity and connexion with the 
subject will not be less apparent. 

From the very beginning of the preface, Harvey says, it will 
be worth while, " seeing we are thinking of the motion, pulse, 
use, action, and utility of the heart and arteries, to unfold such 
things as have been published by others ; to take notice of those 
things which have been commonly spoken and taught, that those 
things which have been rightly spoken may be confirmed, and 
those which are false both by anatomical dissection, manifold 
experience, and diligent and accurate observation, may be 
mended." This "sounds admirably ; but how the pledge is re- 
deemed, is yet to be seen. " Almost all anatomists, physicians, 
and philosophers to this day," adds he, " do affirm with Galen, 
that the use of pulsation is the same with that of respiration, and 
that they differ only in one thing — that one flows from the ani- 
mal faculty, and the other from the vital, being alike in all other 
things, either as touching their utility, or manner of motion ;" 
and that, " because that the pulse of the heart and arteries is not 
sufficient to fan, and refrigerate, that the lungs were made about 
the heart," &c. 

Here then we perceive, that Harvey admits that publications 
had been made on the subjects mentioned ; but with one or two 
exceptions, he has made no mention of the writers or their works ; 
no reference is given, by which to follow out their respective views 
and opinions, so as to enable us to judge for ourselves, and not 
with the spectacles of himself alone, of their real character and 
bearing. The clause of " almost all anatomists," &c. is one of 
wide extent ; but who the individuals are to whom he alludes, 
he no where specifies, except it be Galen, Aquapendente, and 
Columbus, as we shall presently see — a small proportion, it must 
be admitted, of " almost all anatomists, philosophers, and physi- 
cians, to his day !" wc must be content, however, to follow him 
as well as we can ; and as he alludes to H. Fab. ab Aquapen- 
dente, we shall begin with him. His opinion, referred to, is 
given, he tells us, " in his book of Respiration, which he has 
newly set out." Something may probably be gained, in our esti- 
mation of relative views, by a regard to time, as developed by a 


reference to dates. Now the first edition of Harvey's treatise 
De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis, was printed in 1628. He was ap- 
pointed Professor of Anatomy to the College of Physicians in 
London, in 1615 — and he delivered his first course in 1616, 
when he " opened his discovery relating to the circulation of the 
blood." See his Biography. But Fabricius' treatise, " de Res- 
piratione et ejus instrumentis," was published at Padua in 1615, 
that is, thirteen years prior to Harvey's. Whether the term 
" newly set out," is quite appropriate, may be variously appre- 
ciated ; we should scarcely, I apprehend, now call a book new, 
that had been thirteen years in existence ! Be this as it may, 
why he has said no more about it, is very surprising; as is also 
his extreme brevity in the remark he makes, p. 76, respecting that 
same learned man's knowledge of the valves of the veins, that 
he " did not understand the use of them," especially when he 
was elsewhere so surprisingly prolix in his criticisms on the 
same writer, relating to his treatise " De formatione Ovi et 
Pulli." It must be here remembered that Fabricius was one 
of his teachers, whom, in his dedication to the college, he says 
he thinks it unseemly to contest and strive with ! one would 
naturally be led to conclude, that Harvey would here have de- 
lighted to dwell on the merits of his excellent master in anatomy ; 
and to have exposed the slightest claim which he might have, to 
any participation in a subject, which his various writings in- 
dicate to have had a large share of his attention. To appreciate 
this remark, I shall here refer to a list of them, as given by 
Vanderlinden, de Scriptis Medicis, p. 420. Some of which 
appeared in 1603, or about the period of Harvey's graduation, in 
the school in which Fabricius was professor of anatomy. So 
that one-fourth of a century preceded the event of his own publi- 
cation ! To say the least of it, there is something singular in this 
conduct of Harvey : nor can we, I think, doubt, that his master's 
publications, if not his lectures, which Harvey attended, must 
have afforded him many hints, that he may have matured and 
strengthened at a later period. 

As to Galen, though he here refers to him, he does not enable 
us, by any notice, in what part of his voluminous writings, to 
make a fair estimate of his opinions, ourselves. I shall therefore 


be excused for quoting a passage from him, which appears to 
me, to give a far greater idea of the importance of respiration, 
than is any where to be discovered in the writings of Harvey. It 
is from his book " De militate Respirationis" — without following 
up his reasoning on the subject, I shall barely say, that in this, 
one of his most ingenious and interesting treatises, he proposes 
the question " Quaenam est utilitas Respirationis ?" It is a phy- 
siological morceau of 1600 years' existence, scarcely equalled, 
and, I think, not surpassed by any answer or explanation that has 
been given. In replying to the above question, Galen says, "Un- 
questionably it is of no common character ; since we cannot do 
without it a single moment ; and, consequently, that it cannot 
appertain to any individual action; but must be considered as 
connected with life itself." This does not look like the confined 
and limited notion ascribed by Harvey to this great man : and, 
did time permit, I think it would not be difficult to show, that, 
with a difference of language from that of present times ; he has 
actually forestalled the late ideas of a decarbonization of the 
blood by the agency of respiration ! It is true, that Harvey goes 
on to point out some of the discrepancy of opinion of the above 
physicians and of Galen, which last, he tells us, " wrote a book, 
that blood was naturally contained in the arteries, and nothing 
but blood ; that there is neither spirit nor air, as from reasons and 
experiments in the same book we may easily gather." Let this 
admission of Harvey not be forgotten by the reader ! I do not 
think that Harvey has at all demonstrated this fact, better than 
Galen has done, in the book adverted to, by all the posita he 
assumes. In truth, some of his most powerful are taken from 
Galen ; yet, in part, they are apparently perverted to the benefit 
of Harvey ! Thus, when mentioning sundry facts to disprove 
the presence of air or spirits in the arteries, (although we shall 
hereafter find him speaking of them, as if they did contain them, 
and that repeatedly,) Harvey says, " and how comes it to pass, 
that if you tie the arteries, the parts are not only nummed, cold, 
and look pale, but at last leave off to be nourished ? Which 
happens," adds he, " according to Galen, because they are also 
deprived of the heat which did flow from above out of the 
heart." Now this idea of Galen he apparently adopts ; and yet 



soon after, in reference to other particulars, he says, p. 4, that 
" these opinions seem to quarrel with one another, and to refute 
each other, insomuch that all are not undeservedly suspected." 
It seems as if Harvey was blowing hot and cold : for he imme- 
diately adverts to an experiment of Galen from the same 
book, to prove, "that by a great and forcible profusion, the 
whole mass of blood will be exhausted in the space of half an 
hour." " The experiment of Galen," [proving that blood onhj 
is contained in the artery,] says he, "is thus: bind the 
arterie at both ends with a little cord, and cutting it up in 
length, in the middle you shall find, in that place which is com- 
prehended betwixt the two ligatures, nothing but blood, and so 
does he prove that it contains only blood." And he then adds: 
" We may argue likewise in the same manner ; if you find the 
same blood in the arteries which is in the veins, being bound and 
cut up after the same manner, as I have often tried in dead men, 
and in other creatures, by the same reason we may likewise 
conclude, that the arteries do contain the same blood with the 
veins ; and nothing but the same blood."* Is it not strange, that, 
impugning Galen for the idea of spirits in the arteries as well as 
in the blood, (although denied by that illustrious physician ;) and 
drawing unfavourable deductions therefrom ; that Harvey should, 
as I have above stated, advocate, himself, the very same error, 
if words have any meaning 1 See the continuation of this very 
paragraph, as well as numerous passages in the different chapters 
of his treatise. In imitating the experiment of Galen, we ob- 
serve that Harvey arrives at the same conclusions ; and this 
very experiment may indeed be considered as one, and a very 
important link in the chain of the circulation, which must 
necessarily be adjudged to Galen. At p. 6, Harvey details a 
very interesting experiment of Galen, from the same treatise 
above adverted to ; and which experiment appears to have 
strongly excited the attention of many writers, both before and 
after Harvey, as we shall repeatedly show. It is intended to 
subserve sundry speculations relating to the pulsation of the 

» Is it, however, the same blood that is found in these different vessels in all 
and every particular? that is, arc venous and arterial blood identical? Surely not, 
nor has Galen asserted it, as Harvey has! 



arteries. It is of some importance, in this examination of his 
claim; and of immediate interest, because it deepfof involves 
Harvey in an unjustifiable contradiction, both in relation to 
himself, and likewise to Galen, if I have fully comprehended 
him ; of which, indeed, I have not the remotest doubt ; and I 
consider it just, both to him and to Galen, to prove this beyond 
a cavil. I shall quote, therefore, his own words, (p. 10,) and 
not those of his translator : " Arteriam nudatam secundum longi- 
tudinem incidit, calamumque vel concavam perviam fistulam 
immittit, quo et sanguis exilire non possit, et vulnus obturetur. 
Quoad usque, inquit sic se habet, arteria tota pulsabit, cum 
primum vero obductum filum super arteriam et fistulam, in 
laqueum contrahens arterise tunicas, calamo obstrinxeris; non 
amplius arteriam ultra laqueum palpitare videbis." I ask the 
reader if this be not a very plain statement of a simple experi- 
ment recorded by Galen 'I And what says Harvey respecting 
it ? His words are as follows : " JVec ego feci cxperimentum 
Galeni, nee recte posse fieri vivo corpore, ob impetuosi sanguinis 
ex arteriis eruptionem puto." Here it must clearly appear, that 
Harvey throws out a suspicion of Galen's accuracy, or rather of 
the impossibility of performing the experiment, for the reason he 
assigns ; and by which, consequently, the veracity of Galen is 
called into question ; for we can scarcely imagine that he would 
so circumstantially detail a mere fiction! At all events, Harvey 
expressly declares that he himself had never tried it. And yet, 
in his second exercitation to Riolan, (p. 209,) written a few years 
subsequently, we find him declaring that he had performed the 
experiment, and that Galen had not. Referring to the great 
authority of Galen with every one, and adverting to this experi- 
ment, he goes on to say to Riolan, " Hoc experimentum memo- 
ratur a Vesalio, viro anatomes peritissimo ; sed neque Vesalius, 
neque Galenus dicit, experimentum hoc fuisse ab ipsis, sicut a 
me probatum ; tantummodo prasscribit Vesalius, consulitque 
Galenus veritatis indagandae studiosis, quo certiores fierent, non 
cogitans aut intelligens difficultatem illius operis, neque, cum fit, 
vanitatem." Will this sentence admit of any other construction, 
than that he had performed this experiment, but that neither 
Jfesalius nor Galen had? Such is the translation of the Latin, 



at p. 132, of the edition I possess : and if this meaning cannot 
be set aside, how can it be reconciled with his former declaration, 
that he had not, neither did he think it could be done ! Is there 
not something equivocal in this, to say the very least of it 1 

Strong as are the various grounds adduced by Harvey, in 
support of his assumed discovery ; it appears to me, that scarce- 
ly one of them, individually considered, nay, probably not one, can 
be pointed out, as fully and solely appertaining to him, without 
doing injustice to others, whom he has scarcely, if at all, named 
or noticed ; or when noticed, rather in some way in opposition 
to their observations! When endeavouring to prostrate the 
ancient opinion, of blood, and air or spirits, being distributed 
separately by the aorta, (for he supposes or admits that they are 
so distributed, when united together,) he says, (p. 5.) " Albeit the 
blood in the arteries do swell with greater store of spirits, yet 
those spirits are to be thought inseparable from the blood, as those 
which are in the veins; and that blood and spirit make one body, 
as whey and butter in milk ! or heat and water in warm water," 
&c. (a goodly illustration, or assimilation !) When, I say, he 
endeavours to do this; he correctly asks, (p. 9,) "how it comes 
to pass, that spirits and fumes (fuligines) pass sometimes hither, 
sometimes thither, without permistion and confusion V and yet, 
we find him in another place, (p. 88), actually falling into a 
greater absurdity, viz., where he is speaking of chyle and blood, 
attracted by certain veins, and returning " through the many 
branches of them into the porta of the liver, and through it, into 
the vena cava; so it comes to pass," says Harvey, "that the 
blood in these veins is imbued with the same colour, and con- 
sistence, as in the rest, otherwise than many believe: for we must, 
needs believe, that it very fitly and probably comes to pass, in the 
stem or branch of the capular veins, ('Neque sic duos contrarios 
motus in omni capillari earum propagine, chyli nempe sursum et 
sanguinis deorsum inconvenienter fieri, necesse est improbabili- 
ter existimare,') that there are two motions, one of the chylus up- 
wards, another of the blood downwards ;" and so far from doubt- 
ing this, in the slightest degree, as he had done that of the fumes 
and spirits ; he even asks, whether this is not from a main pro- 
vidence of nature ? But we must leave it to the reader to re- 


concile these inconsistencies and determine which of the errors, 
that of the ancients, or that of Harvey, is the most to be par-, 
doned. Even but a few lines further on, contending still against 
ancient errors on the subject-matter that he is considering, he con- 
tradicts, apparently, what he has just admitted — viz., opposite mo- 
tions in the same vessel : thus, " They will have these (the lungs) 
to send fumes from the heart, and the other, [arteria venalis,] to 
send air to the heart by the same pipe, when notwithstanding 
nature did not use to frame one vessel, and one way, for such 
contrary motions and uses, nor is it ever seen to be so." Certain 
it is, that Harvey is fully as inconsistent as any of his contem- 
poraries : which I would willingly conceal ; had he not so often 
noticed it in others, and yet availed himself of the circumstance 
in prejudice to them, when opportunity presented : it is but justice, 
therefore, to measure him by the standard he himself establishes. 
Much as is affirmed respecting Harvey's claims to the sole 
discovery of the circulation ; his writings evidence fully, that, 
however he may have connected and strengthened the disjointed 
links of a mysterious chain, whose extremities are yet unknown ; 
he has fallen into numerous errors respecting many of its most 
important details ; and runs into contradictions in many places. 
In supporting very ably the passage of the blood by the pulmo- 
nary artery, from the right to the left side of the heart, instead of 
through the pores of the septum (mediastini cordis csecas poro- 
sitates), as was commonly taught — " By my troth," says he, 
" there are no such pores, nor can they be demonstrated." And 
yet this doctrine of porosities is Harvey's hobby, the chief, (nay, 
we shall prove, I think, it to be,) the only intermedium, by which 
he contrives to explain the passage of the blood, from the arterial 
extremities into those of the veins, not only in the lungs, but in 
every other part of the body.* " Truly," says he, " it is a wonder 

* In his first excrcitation to Riolan, p. 126, he says, " It is true, indeed, that I 
did find out of the authority of Galen, and by daily experience to be a refugium 
the anastomosis of the vessels, yet so great a man as he is, (meaning Riolan,) so 
diligent, so curious, so expert an anatomist, should have first laid open and shown 
anastomoses, and those visible and open ones and whirlpools proportionable to the 
impetuous stream of the whole blood, and the orifices of the branches, (from which 
he has taken away circulation) before he had rejected those which were most 


to me, that they would rather invent (!) or make a way through 
the septum of the heart, which is gross, thick, hard, and most 
compact, than through the patent vas venosum, or else through 
the substance of the lungs, thin, loose, most soft and spongious." 
I at first supposed this idea, of making the blood to pass through 
the spongy substance of the lungs, was intended rather as a mark 
of comparison of its greater facility, than by the septum, which, 
he tells us, " is thicker and more compact than any part of the 
body, except the bones and nerves." (Let anatomists respond to 
this.) We shall, however, find Harvey attempting, (as well as 
most of his advocates,) to show, that the blood does absolutely 
pass, mediately, through the porosities or parenchyma of the 
parts; a doctrine to the full as incredible, we think, as that of 
the septum; if, especially, we recollect the probability then 
attached to it, by the well-known existence of the foramen ovale, 
in the foetal state. I might readily extend my remarks on this 
proeme, but it is high time to proceed to the body of the work, 
and I shall conclude by stating my belief, that he has neither 
fully "demonstrated" in it, all that he undertook, as to the defects 
of the things already written, nor has he fully established all the 
particulars he so sedulously inculcates. 

In proceeding to consider the body of the work itself, it is 
proposed to follow as nearly as possible the respective order of 
its chapters ; and I have earnestly • to solicit the reader's for- 
bearance, when he will probably discover, what he may at first 

probable and most open," &c. ; proceeding thus, he finally adds, as in derision of 
both Galen and Riolan : "But perchance I speak too boldly, for neither the learned 
man, nor Galen himself, could by any experience ever behold the sensible anasto- 
moses, or ever could demonstrate them to the sense." 

He tells us he had looked after them with all possible diligence, and was at no 
little charge and pains in the search of anastomoses, yet he could never find that 
any vessel, viz., the arteries, together with the veins, were joined by their orifices : 
that there are no anastomoses in the liver, milt, lungs, reins, or any other part of the 
intrals, with all the pains he was at for the purpose ; and that he " dare, therefore, 
boldly affirm that neither the vena porta has any anastomoses with the cava, nor the 
veins with the arteries," &c. Yet with this absolute denial of them in every case, 
we shall find he occasionally employs them, as his friend Dr. De Back says, p. 87, 
"only as it may further his purpose !" 


sight imagine, much useless repetition; but which, in order closely 
to follow up the subject, it was impossible always to obviate : 
besides, it is better, in a case like this, to exceed in prolixity, 
than to prove defective from brevity. 

Chapter 1st. is headed thus: " The Causes which moved the 
Author to write." In it, Harvey proposes the difficulties he had 
encountered " to find out the use of the motion of the heart," a 
thing so hard to be attained,* he adds, that, " with Fracastorius, 
he almost believed that the motion of the heart was known to 
God alone:" for, "neither could he rightly distinguish, which 
way the diastole and systole came to be, nor when, nor where, 
the dilatation and constriction had its existence." Neither did 
he wonder " at that which And. Laurentius writes, that the mo- 
tion of the heart was as the ebbing and flowing of Euripusf to 

* Hard as it was to Harvey, Galen had, fourteen or fifteen centuries before Jum, 
given an explanation of its use and of its motion, to which he was obliged to 
assent, although he has given no credit to his predecessor for it. In one particular 
they differ, viz., that Galen has not run into the absurdity that Harvey advocates, 
of the heart being the organ of ha^matosis. 

t Euripus- — A narrow sea between Boeotia and Euboea, which ebbed and 
flowed seven times in twenty-four hours. Pliny, 2. 47 ; Or rather oflener or 
seldomer, as the wind sate. Livy, 28. 6. Hodie, the channel of Negropont. 
Ainsworth's Thcsaur. Ling. Lat. See also No. 70, May, 1833, of the Penny 
Magazine, p. 169, for a view of the bridge of the Euripus, with a description of 
the " Channel of the Euripus and the modern town of Egripos," in which the 
singular and irregular flow of the channel is referred to, and an explanation 

" Moveri cor viscus nobilissimum nemo unquam, nisi amens et mente captus 
negabit." " Sed perennis illius motus natura et caussa, tot tantisque difBcultatum 
involucris est implicita, ut soli Deo et naturse cognitam existimarit doctissimus 
Fracastorius. Ego motus hujus naturam non minus admiratione dignam 
puto, quam Euripi angusti in Euboea freti septies interdiu noctuque stato tempore 
reflui ; cujus caussam dum in Chalcide exsularet Aristoteles, cum reddere non po- 
tuisset, md>rore contabuit, et mortuus fertur." Laurentius, Histor. Anat. hum 
corp. Frankfort, 1599, p. 352. I cannot omit to remark here, that Harvey 
no where else mentions the name of Laurentius, nor refers to his writings ; 
although there is scarcely another writer of equal eminence, who has so fully 
entered into a Variety of particulars, connected with the anterior views of hig 
predecessors, on subjects intimately associated with the circulation : I am greatly 
surprised, that at least a reference to him is pretermitted. His Controversies 
Anatomiccc, accompanying his description of the various parts of the body, are of 
infinite interest; and by no means is that portion of them the least, that' treats 


Aristotle." At length he did believe he " had hit the nail on the 
head" — and that since that time (what period he does not state) 
he had " not been afraid, both privately to my friends, and 
publicly in my anatomy lectures, to deliver my opinion," which, 
he adds, pleased some and displeased others. Some checked 
him, spoke harshly, and found fault with his departure from the 
precepts and belief of all anatomists. Some said it was new, 
worth knowing, profitable ; and required it to be more plainly 
delivered to them ; so that at length, moved partly by compliance 
with the request of friends, " and partly by the malice of some, 
who being displeased with what I said, and not understanding it 
aright, endeavoured to traduce me, publicly ; I was forced to 
recommend these things to the press, that every man might of 
me, and of the thing itself, deliver his judgment freely" All 
this sounds well ; and did not many parts prove, that Harvey 
gave the go-by to nearly all his opponents, and regarded them, 
and their " judgments on the thing itself," undeserving of notice, 
except that of vilifying them by the appellation of detractors, 
momes, &c, we might judge differently with respect to himself 
in several particulars ! He was the more willing, he tells us, to 
publish this, " because Hyeronimus ab Aquapendente having 
learnedly and accurately set down in a particular treatise, 
almost all the parts of living creatures, left the heart only 

We may be permitted to observe, in relation to this freedom 
of inquiry, which he seems here to invoke ; that to none does he 
seefrt to have replied, except to John Riolan, the son, in two 
Exercitations, that are printed with his works. Of him, we 
should judge, he felt some apprehension. He dared not class 
him with those to whom he gives theopprobrious terms of momes 
and detractors. The younger Riolan appears to have answered 
him ; if, indeed, he was not the person who had actually 
animadverted upon him. His remarks are entitled " Responsio 
ad duas Excrcitationes anatomicas postremas ejusdem D. 
Harveii, adversus Riolanum de Circulatione sanguinis ;" a work 
I have been unable to procure. He, or his father, if not both, 

on the subject of the pulse and respiration ! Harvey appears sedulously to have 
avoided any reference to any authors of his own period ! Why so ? 


were physicians to the French king, and both highly esteemed 
for their anatomical attainments. They could not, therefore, 
well be overlooked by Harvey : but Primrose and others, who 
are probably the momes and detractors to whom he refers, were 
but private and humble practitioners. 

Chapter 2d., is prefaced by " What manner of motion the 
heart has in the dissection of living creatures." Whilst the 3d. 
chapter considers the arteries, under the same circumstances — 
and being so closely allied, it will be altogether improper to 
separate them in our consideration. They are both of high 
interest, and bespeak great care and attentive observation on the 
part of Dr. Harvey; but whether absolutely new and unheard of 
before him, I am unprepared to say, unless I had an opportunity 
of comparing the writings of Columbus, Caesalpinus, and others, 
his predecessors. If altogether his own, still there are one or 
two remarks which they seem to call for. If I am not under a 
misapprehension of his meaning, when he says that " in fish and 
colder animals which have blood, as serpents, frogs, at that time 
when the heart moves it becomes whitish ; when it leaveth 
motion it appears full of sanguine colour," I should say, that his 
conception of this sanguine colour and its opposite which he 
speaks of, is, that it arises from the blood received into, or 
expelled from, the ventricle itself; and not that which must 
necessarily fill the muscular fabric itself, from the coronary 
arteries: and if I am right, I should apprehend his views to be 
incorrect, for it could scarcely be, that the blood in the ventricle 
alone could communicate a sanguine appearance through the 
thickness of its walls. 

In reference, moreover, to his speculations as to the motion of 
the heart, whether belonging to its diastole or systole, the 
question is perhaps not yet conclusively settled. Harvey 
however has decided positively on the subject in the following 
words: "For that motion which is commonly thought the 
diastole of the heart, is really the systole, and so the proper 
motion of the heart is not a diastole but a systole, for the heart 
receives no vigour in the diastole, but in the systole, for then it 
is extended, moveth, and receiveth vigour." This subject was 


matter of great diversity of opinion at that period; and if it is 
not satisfactorily settled, even now ; it can neither strengthen, 
nor weaken the inquiry into the act of circulation. We might 
be led perhaps to contest the last clause of the 2d. chapter, thus 
proposed by Harvey. "Neither is it true which is commonly 
believed, that the heart by any motion or distention of its own 
doth draw blood into the ventricles, but that whilst it is moved 
and bended, the blood is thrust forth, and when it is relaxed and 
falls, the blood is received ;" as he proceeds to point out in the 
next chapter. If he has accurately given us the result of his 
numerous observations on the motion of the heart; I cannot 
readily perceive, that he has enlightened us as to the cause 
thereof; and, perhaps, in denying the "commonly believed" 
opinion, "that the heart by any motion or distention of its own, 
doth draw blood into the ventricles," he has deprived himself 
of at least a possible collaborateur of this unceasing phenome- 
non. And it is likewise somewhat inconsistent with what he 
states in the next chapter, p. 26, of the hearts of eels, and some 
fishes and living creatures, " being tane out, beats without ears, 
nay, though you cut it in pieces, you shall see the pieces when 
they are asunder, contract and dilate themselves," &c. Is it 
possible to imagine, that what thus takes place in the divided 
fragments of the heart, should not occur in its perfect state ? 
We shall find hereafter that he ascribes an independent power 
of motion to the blood itself ; a fluid devoid of nervous, or any 
other absolutely direct communication with any part of the body, 
though essential to the whole : so as even, by some physiologists 
of that period, to be denied as a part of the body. If then this 
be the case, or if it actually possesses an innate power of motion, 
why may not the heart equally possess such power? It is 
obvious, however, that if the blood possesses it, it would be 
enabled, of itself, to fill the heart, without any other assistant 
cause. Now, considering the mode of explanation Harvey 
adopts, for the passage of the blood from arteries to veins, 
mediately, by the porosities of the flesh, I much wonder he has 
made no use of such admitted locomotive powers in the blood 
itself! But what then actually " draws blood into the ventricles," 
he does not make clear and apparent. Let us however suppose 


the heart to be distended by any cause, apart from merely the 
impulse of the blood ; would not that fluid necessarily rush into 
a vacuity thus produced, as air into the expanding lungs ; or 
water into a bladder or bag of caoutchouc, as it expanded by 
its elastic property? If the blood has not any independent 
motion, (which Harvey however maintains, but makes no use 
of;) and if the heart has none either per se, as he affirms to be 
the case; I really can see but little reason in the explanation he 
has afforded; for, as he admits that there is no pulsation in the 
veins, so no power on their part can be presumed to co-operate: 
and we are as much in the dark on the subject, after his full 
developement of the circulation, as before that event ! He con- 
cludes, as Galen had equally, long before him, that the heart 
impels the blood into the arteries, and that the "pulsation of the 
arteries arises from the impulsion of blood from the left ven- 
tricle ;" stating, in proof, some similitudes, that seem not very 
happily chosen, " as when one blows into a glove, he shall see 
all the fingers swell up together, and assimilate this pulsation." 
This idea he soon after repeats, and refers to Aristotle, (3. 
Anim. c. 9. and de Respiratione, c. 15.) who says, "the blood of 
all living creatures beats within their veins, (meaning the arteries, 
says Harvey,) and with a continual motion moves every where. 
So do all the veins beat together, and by turns, because they have 
their dependence upon the heart," &c. I copy this for the pur- 
pose of adding, that Harvey here says, that " We must observe 
with Galen, that the arteries were named veins by the ancient 
philosophers," and that, as by his own allowance, the pulsation 
of the arteries, even by Aristotle, was ascribed to the impulsion 
of the heart, he can have no claim to this link of the chain of 
circulation! I have another reason, moreover, for adverting to 
this notice of Harvey, that the arteries were called veins by the 
ancient philosophers ; although he, in another part (p. 52.), gives 
an erroneous view of Galen's explanation, as will there be 
shown. The notice itself is, however, highly important, and 
deserving the attention of all those who may feel disposed to 
undervalue the riches of former writers, too often, probably, 
from not comprehending their meaning accurately. It was 
this very remark by Harvey, which was a primary cause to lead 


me to examine the works of Galen, so soon as I could procure a 
copy of his immortal writings; in consequence of some remarks, 
by my respected preceptor and friend, Dr. B. Rush, in his Intro- 
ductory Lecture of 1806, " On the opinions and modes of prac- 
tice of Hippocrates." In it, after the warmest panegyric on that 
venerable sage ; he undoes the whole, by sundry objections to 
him, that may readily be shown to be altogether unfounded. I 
well know the estimation in which Dr. Rush always held 
Hippocrates, and the writings ascribed to him; and which, 
indeed, he fully expresses throughout the lecture itself; espe- 
cially when he says, " His writings were among the first books I 
read in medicine ; and, as a proof of my partiality for them, 
permit me to mention, that I translated his Aphorisms into 
English, before I was twenty years of age." 

Without entering fully into a confutation of my venerable 
master's attack, if so it can be called, on Hippocrates; but, 
which, if living, he would be the first to approve, if persuaded of 
its correctness ; I shall only remark on that part of iit that has 
reference to the subject immediately on hand, viz., the arteries 
and veins. " He confounds," says Dr. Rush, " the offices of the 
arteries and veins, and afterwards the offices of both, with the 
nerves and ureters." In the year 1829, my Introductory Lec- 
ture was intended to vindicate Hippocrates from these misap- 
prehensions, which had been made public, in the same place, 
twenty-three years previously : and from it, I shall be excused, 
I hope, for extracting the defence I made in his behalf. It is too 
long to be here embodied, and will therefore be found in the 
Appendix. I should not have considered it proper to affix it 
even there; but for the close connexion it maintains with the 
subject in question. 1 shall therefore conclude my remarks on 
this chapter, with the words of Harvey, in order to identify more 
fully his precise ideas, that " the pulse of the arteries is nothing 
but the impulsion of the blood into the arteries." 

The 4th chapter proceeds to consider " What manner of 
motion the heart, and the ears of it have, in living creatures." 

Harvey tells us, that, according to G. Bauhin, and J. Riolan, 
"men very learned, and skilful anatomists, there are four 


motions, distinct both in time and place." He diners however 
from both, and affirms that " there are four motions* distinct in 
place, but not in time ; for both the ears move together, and 
both the ventricles move together, so that there are four motions 
distinct in place, only at two times, and it is thus," &c. ; which 
is correct, in this, a matter of mere accuracy in observation 1 I 
should not have thought it necessary to dwell on this, for one 
moment, had not Harvey, in a sentence or two following, men- 
tioned as a fact, in the dying away of the heart, what appears 
to me rather to confirm the opinions of Bauhin and Riolan, than 
his own : " So the heart first leaves beating, before the ears, so 
that the ears are said to outlive it: the left ventricle leaves 
beating first of all, then its ear, then the right ventricle, last of 
all, (which Galen observes,) all the rest giving off and dying, 
the right ear beats still : so that life seems to remain last of all 
in the right," &c. Why should not this admitted distinction in 
death, be equally the truth, in the perfect state of life ; as Bauhin 
and Riolan have asserted ? Would not those long-established 
consecutive movements, independently of other circumstances, 
be more likely to occur in death, if under the influence of asso- 
ciation from habit, than if an opposite state prevailed in the 
normal condition of the body ? Be this as it may, we at all 
events perceive, that Harvey acknowledges this link, (so far as 
it may be so deemed,) of the circulation, the ultimum moriens of 
the right auricle, to have been known to Galen: and, consequently, 
this cannot be a part of the novelty of his newly claimed dis- 
covery. One thing of infinite interest, he seems to have observed, 
that was apparently overlooked by Galen ; at least Harvey takes 
no notice of it; nor have I met with it huny examination of Galen's 
writings; it will, however, probably be found there; since the 
fact, by Harvey's admission, is noticed by Aristotle ; and could 
scarcely have failed of attracting the attention of an observer so 
acute as Galen. It is at p. 27, in the following words : " But 
besides all these / have often observed, that after the heart itself, 
and even its right ear, had at the very point of death left off 
beating, there manifestly remained in the very blood which is in 
the right ear, an obscure motion, and a kind of inundation and 
beating." I know not a fact in the whole history of the blood 


and its circulation, if really the case, more interesting than this 
solitary one of Harvey, relating to its independent power of 
motion! It is not however absolutely insulated as a fact; at 
least, Harvey immediately mentions one, of a congenerous 
nature, viz., " A thing of the like nature, in the first generation 
of a living creature, most evidently appears in a hen's egg, 
within seven days after her sitting; first of all there is in it a 
drop of blood which moves, as Aristotle likewise observed, which 
receiving increase, and the chicken being formed in part, the 
ears of the heart are fashioned, which beating there is always 
life," &c. Here again we perceive, that this primitive and 
independent motion of the blood itself, as a link in the chain of 
circulation, was known to Aristotle, nearly two thousand years 
before Harvey was born, or his " new and unheard of things" 
were promulgated; and cannot therefore come within his 
claim. I may, incidentally, here remark, that Aristotle, appa- 
rently astonished at the wonderful and mysterious character of 
this fluid, is led to affirm that it is not a part of the body, and is 
devoid of feeling, on that very account: "Nee ipse sanguis 
sensu prasditus est : quippe qui nulla pars sit animaliumP ( De 
part. Anim. lib. 2. ch. 10.) We shall find one of Harvey's warm 
advocates speaking in the same manner of the blood — as not 
belonging to the body: a position unnoticed altogether by Harvey, 
as well as that of its entire insensibility. Could the wonders of 
the circulation be altogether unsuspected and unknown by a 
philosopher, who has, in so many instances proved himself to be 
of the most observant and inquiring character 1 and who is here 
shown to have forestalled Harvey on several important points ; 
and also to have noticed several particulars relative !o the blood, 
of which Harvey was ignorant, or deemed it prudent to sup- 
press them in his writings ! What follows the preceding quota- 
tion that I have given from Harvey, and more especially in 
connexion with it, would seem to impress the character of ab- 
surdity on what he subsequently assumes in opposition to Galen, 
as to the locality of sanguification. I have already noticed as 
a remarkable fact, that whenever two explanations could be 
given on any subject, Harvey invariably opposes that to which 
Galen inclines; even at the risk of choosinsr the worst of the 


two ; and of yet, nevertheless, advancing nothing new upon the 
subject. The present is of this character; and if all these 
aberrations from the Galenic views are purely accidental, I 
must deem it still more remarkable. " Within a few days, the 
body beginning to receive its lineaments, (says Harvey,) then 
likewise is the body of the heart framed, but for some days it 
appears whitish and without blood, nor doth it beat and move as 
the rest of the body; as I also have seen in a child after three 
months, the heart to be also formed, but whitish, and without 
blood ; in the ears of which notwithstanding, there was great 
store of blood, and of a crimson colour:" and again, "It is 
doubtful too, whether or no before them also (the ears and heart) 
the spirit and blood have an obscure beating, which to me it 
seemed to retain after death ;" &c. with these, and other facts 
admitted by him; how he could venture to fix on the heart, as 
the organ of haematosis ; and to oppose Galen's more probable, 
hepatic location, is certainly curious ; it is still more remarkably 
apparent, however, in his treatise on generation, than in this 
on the blood : and most of his adherents appear to have advo- 
cated the like opinion.* 

In this chapter, we perceive one of the circumstances which 
ought indubitably to have given Harvey a vast superiority over 
his less fortunate predecessors ; viz., in the use of " an optic 
glass, made for the discovery of the least things." p. 28. 
Whether it had this influence in his hands, may admit of great 
doubts ; especially in relation to the only point, on which the 
full and complete idea of a circulation could be considered as 
incomplete. That is, the mode of intercommunication between 
the extremities of the arteries, and the veins; whether by 
immediate anastomoses of these vessels ; — or mediately through 
the porosities of the different parts 1 — Hippocrates appears 
to have been fully persuaded of an anastomosis, as the fol- 
lowing from his treatise de loc. in homine (Ed. Fcesius, 409.) 
will perhaps evince : " Has autem omnes venae (remember that 

* " Whether the blood be moved or driven, or move itself by its own intrinsical 
nature, we have spoken sufficiently in our book of the motion of the heart and 
blood," &c., 2d Exercit. to Riolan, p. 147. Some of these additional ideas of the 
heart being the organ of htematosis, will be found in the Appendix. 


venas mean both arteries and veins,) inter se communicant, 
et mutuo confluunt." — Galen accredited an anastomosis of the 
vessels, but objects to a credence in the porosities, as Harvey 
seems to maintain. Yet Galen, without glasses, has better esta- 
blished his views, than Harvey, with them ! — This chapter is a 
very interesting one ; yet still, whatever stress may be placed 
on it in upholding the claims of Harvey, it will leave him, in my 
opinion, but a small proportion of the extensive, the exclusive 

In the 5th chapter, to which we now proceed, we have con- 
sidered, " The action and office of the heart." 

If we are to be governed by words alone, we may probably 
incline to the opinion, that the chapter commences in error. 
Harvey here follows up the intent of the last chapter, by an 
attempt to point out the manner of the motion of the heart, 
which, says he, will be found to be "after this manner." — 
" First of all, the ear contracts itself, and in that contraction, 
throws the blood, with which it abounds, as the head spring of 
the veins, and the cellar and cistern of blood, into the ventricles 
of the heart, &c." It does not appear from any part of his 
writings, that Harvey regarded the term, veins, as a generic 
one, including therein, as the ancients did, both arteries and 
veins ; but that, on the contrary, he limits it to the veins, now, 
strictly so called. If so, the auricles, or ears, can, with no 
regard to accuracy, be regarded as the head springs of the veins, 
as here stated ; since they, the veins, receive the blood, medi- 
ately or immediately, from the arteries ; and pour their contents 
into arteries, by the intermedium of the auricles and ventricles. 
And again, the same objection may be advanced to what he 
savs in p. 32, "that it is sufficiently evidenced, that in the 
beating of the heart, the blood is transfused, and drawn out of 
the veins, into the arteries, through the ventricles of the heart," 
since he here altogether omits the intervening auricles ! 
"But," continues he, "this, all do in some measure grant, and 
gather, from the fabric of the heart; and from the figure, 
place, and use of the portals (valves)." Now, if all agree in 
this, surely he cannot claim such position as his own : it is true, 
he qualifies this acknowledgment, of the admission of others, by 


affirming, "that divers things are clampered up, which are 
contrary and inconsistent;" which he ascribes to their stumbling 
in a dark place, and being dim-sighted. The chief cause ol 
doubt and mistake herein, he ascribes, however, to "the 
contexture in a man of the heart and lungs ; for when they 
did see the vena arteriosa, and the arteria venosa, coming 
likewise into the lungs ; and there to disappear, it could not sink 
with them, either how the right ventricle should distribute the 
blood into the body, or how the left ventricle should draw it out 
of the vena cava." This Galen's words do testify, adds 
Harvey, in his book de Plac. Hipp, et Plat. 6. cap. 6. 
"where he inveighs against Erasistratus, concerning the 
beginning and use of the veins, and the concoction of the blood." 
He then quotes from Galen, what he conceives is adequate to 
prove, that he had rejected an opinion that carried reason with 
it, " because he could not find a vessel which, from the heart, 
should distribute the blood into the whole body." It is easy, by 
taking insulated passages, to make even Galen appear to know 
less than he did. If the whole of this 6th chapter were 
accurately translated, I am disposed to think that Harvey would 
be found to have underrated his views. But, be this as it may, 
he assumes this opinion, "as now his own, and in all things else 
agreeable to reason, by Galen's own confession," and asks, if at 
that time, any one " should with his finger have pointed out the 
great arterie, dispensing the blood from the heart, into the whole 
body, what would that divine man, most ingenious, and most 
learned, have answered ? I wonder whether he would have said 
that the arteries distributed spirits, and not blood V No wonder 
Harvey should have so promptly seized this argument, in his 
own behalf! and yet, methinks, it might not have been amiss, 
for him to have recollected, that but a few pages antecedently, 
he had himself shown, that the observant Galen had fully 
demonstrated that the arteries carried blood, and not spirits ; and 
consequently, that he had not altogether comprehended him, 
from thus limiting his object to a short extract,' or from a 
determination to overlook, what Galen had so fully demon- 
strated ! at least, so far as was requisite to bolster up this 
intended assumption of Galen's opinion, as his own! for he 


immediately adds, that Galen here contradicts himself; and 
basely (turpiter) denies that, which in one of his own books 
he stiffly maintains to be true, proves it by many, and strong 
arguments, and by experiments demonstrates it, that blood is 
naturally contained in the arteries, and not spirits." There is 
certainly, as Harvey propounds the matter, some apparent 
discrepancy in the remarks of Galen, which might lead us to 
apply to him the aliquando dormitat ; were not the passages so 
contradictory, as to induce the possibility of misconception, of 
the one or other. It is not my intention to defend Galen, right 
or wrong; nor can I indeed undertake it here, in the least; 
owing to Harvey's neglect, as usual, of affording us reference, 
directly to the passages he quotes : so that, to follow up a short 
remark, it becomes requisite to pore over pages of his writings. 
We perceive, however, which was what I principally had in 
view, that Harvey cannot claim as new and unheard of, what 
he acknowledges Galen had demonstrated ; and, therefore, that 
it cannot be considered as a link in the chain of circulation, 
exclusively his own. Justice to Harvey requires that I should 
here add the part immediately following that, which has led to 
these remarks, in order to estimate fully his peculiar views and 
explanations. " But if that divine man, as he does often in the 
same place, do grant that all the arteries of the body do arise 
from the great arterie, and it from the heart, and professing 
likewise that those three pointed doors, placed in the orifice of 
the aorta, do hinder the return of the blood into the heart, and 
that nature had never ordained them for the best of our intralls, 
unless it had been for some special office ; I say, if the father of 
the Physicians should grant all these things, and in the same 
very words as he does in his foremen tioned book, I do not see 
how he could deny that the great arterie was such a vessel as 
did carry the blood, after it had received its absolute perfection, 
out of the heart, into the whole body : or perchance he would 
still continue to be doubtful, (as all the rest since his time to 
this very day,) because, not seeing the contexture of the heart 
with the lungs, he was ignorant of the ways by which the blood 
could be carried into the arteries, which doubt does not a little 
perplex the anatomists, when always in dissections they find the 


arteria venosa and the left ventricle full of thick knotty black 
blood, so that they are forced to affirm, that the blood swets 
through the encloser (septum) of the heart from the right ventricle 
to the left ; but this way I have sufficiently refuted already, 
therefore there must be another way prepared and laid open, 
which being found, there can, I imagine, be no difficulty, which 
can hinder any body from granting and confessing those things 
which I propounded before of the pulsation of the heart, and 
dispensation of the blood by the arteries in the whole body." 
p. 34. 

From this long quotation it clearly appears, that Harvey 

had no intention of admitting any person whatsoever, into 

partnership with him, as to this pulmonary portion of the 

circulation : yet, even allowing all he asks, does it not prove his 

admission, however, of Galen, and others, having taught and 

suspected, a passage of the blood through the septum of the heart, 

from the right to the left ventricle; — thus acknowledging a 

circulation, even if incorrect in the route? — It must be 

admitted, however, that some excuse existed for this error, in 

the well known foramen ovale; which sometimes continues 

open long after birth, and, according to Harvey himself, p. 39, 

" in some, for many years, if not all their life time, as in the 

goose, and very many birds." Admitting that Harvey has 

adequately proved the ignorance of Galen relative to the 

pulmonary circulation, (which I am not, however, prepared by 

any means to acquiesce in,) through the pulmonary artery; still, 

he cannot, by any elucidation given, prevent the rights of 

others ; of one or two of whom, it may be proper to advance 

their claims to this particular. As this will equally answer in 

the appendix, to it I must refer the reader, in behalf of Servetus, 

Caesalpinus, and others; and continue here to remark, that if 

Galen erroneously supposed the blood to flow through pores in 

the septum of the heart, it can scarcely be regarded as a 

greater error than the view of Harvey in the passage of the 

blood from the pulmonary artery, to the pulmonary vein, 

" incessantly through the porosities of the lungs ;" a point to be 

more fully noticed, when we come to the 7th chapter. We must 

be permitted to repeat, however, that either by anastomoses or 


pores, — the pulmonary circulation having been known prior to 
the time of Harvey, he has no claim to it — nor, by his own 
acknowledgment, even to the idea of the necessity of the blood 
reaching the left, from the right side of the heart, and of its 
then distribution over the whole body, by the great artery, 
or aorta. 

It is essential, in order to comprehend Harvey's account of 
the union of artery and vein, to enter more into detail on the 
subject, by giving the particular statements of different writers, 
both of his own day and subsequently, when the doctrine of 
the circulation was fully and uniformly accredited ; and as it is 
of importance to know what he himself says in explanation, I 
shall quote the following short exposition, (I cannot call it 
luminous, or very intelligent, but it is the only one I can 
discover in his writings; it is in his second letter to Riolan, 
p. 170.) "Lest it should seem a difficult business, how the 
blood should pass through the pores of the parts, and go hither 
and thither, I will add one experiment. It happens after the 
same manner to those that are strangled and hanged with a 
rope, as it does in the tying the arm, that beyond the cord, their 
face, eyes, lips, tongue, and all the upper parts of their head, 
are stuffed with very much blood, grow extream red, and swell 
till they look black; in such a carcase, untying the rope, in 
whatsoever position you set it, within a very few hours, you 
shall see all the blood leave the face, and the head, and see it, as 
it were, fall down, with its own weight, from the upper to the 
lower parts through the pores of the skin, and flesh, and the rest 
of the parts, and that it fills all the parts below, and the skin 
chiefly, and colours it with black matter: how much more 
lively and sprightly the blood is in a living body, and by how 
much more penetrating it is through the porosities than congealed 
blood, especially when it is condensed through all the habit of 
the body, by the cold of death, the ways too being stopt and 
hindered, so much the more easy and ready is the passage in 
those that are alive through all the parts !" 

Although I cannot perceive any striking analogy between 
this explanation of a so called experiment, and the passage of 
I he blood from the arterial extremities, through the pores of the 


parts, into the veins ; no doubt, it will be clear as daylight to 
the partisans of Harvey ! — I have only to request the reader to 
bear in mind, continually, this wonderful demonstration; — 
whilst I proceed to notice other authorities on the same 

The first I shall mention is taken from the " Introductio in 
universam medicinam" of Doctor M. Alberti, printed at Magde- 
burg, 1718. [He was a celebrated Professor, " in Regia 
FridericianEe Med. Publ. ordin. et Philos. Natur. Extraord. 
Academ. Cassar. Nat. Curios. Collegia.] In chap. 5. p. 58. " de 
Motibus vitalibus," he considers as the principal, the " motus 
progressivus sanguinis, qui vulgo vocatur circulus sanguinis" — 
and he refers to Stahl's Schediasma de iEstu maris micro- 
cosmici, — a work I have not seen. He proceeds as follows, in 
short paragraphs : 

No. 28. Hie priscis medicis non fuit cognitus, sed recentiorum indus- 
trial et inventioni adscribi debet. 

29. Est vero hie motus progrediens, neque in ulla corporis regione 
subsistens, sed continuo per sanguinem circumiens. 

30. Propterea vocatur circulus, quia ex uno puncto effluit, nimerum 
e corde et in ilium iterum influit. 

31. Unde subjectum hujus motus esse debet fluidum et non solidum, 
uti sanguis est : quam primum vero hie spissior redditur, tunc ad 
hunc progressum ineptior evadit, et laedit proportionem motus ad 

32. Ordo vero hujus progressus est, ut e corde sanguis per arterias 
propellatur, ex arteriis ad universum corpus tarn sursum intra 
caput quam deorsum in reliquum truncum, imprimis vero in 
wganacribrosa,aut partes porosas effundatur, per has partes profluat, 
ex iisdem intra verias transfluat, et per venas ad cor iterum refluat. 

33. Particularis circuitus sanguinis notandus est, quod e dextro cordis 
ventriculo sanguis intra pulmones per arteriam pulmonalem et 
per illos in venam pulmonalem, ex hac denique in sinistrum 
cordis ventriculum profluat. 

34. Ob id progressui sanguinis, usus pulmonum per respirationem 
imprimis maximopere favet, cujus defectum in embryone pecu- 
liars viae supplent. 

35. Dignitas hujus motus inter alia momenta ex co elucessit quod 
in ceconomia vitali continuo duret, siquidem cordis motus, 
nunquam cessat, sed diu noctuque continuat. 


No. 36. Sanguis itaque ex sinistro cordis ventriculo per systolem in 
arterias piopellitur, et ad partes advehitur, qui quando rapide per 
arterias transfluit easdem tunc momentanee extendit, cujus exten- 
sions aut elevationis perceptio medicis pulsus audit. 

37. Pulsus itaque non est motus arteriis proprius, qualis vulgo sup- 
ponitur systalticus, siquidem sensitive perceptioni contrariatur, 
quod in pulsu arteriae non constringantur, sed dilatentur, quae dila- 
tatio provenit a sanguine momentanee arterias transeunte, et 
allidente, indeque distendente. 

38. Expellitur itaque sanguis ex arteriis in partes porosas et reliquas 
organicas cribrosas : dicuntur vera nobis pori, interstitia Jibrarum 
quse permeabilia sunt. 

39. Fibrae vero sunt pars solida, flexilis tamen et consistens, non vero 
cava aut pervia. 

40. Unde sanguis non per fibras quae quandoque cavae supponuntur, sed 
per praedicta interstitia sive poros progreditur cujus asserti diversa 
prostant argumenta. 

41. Interea motus cordis systalticus tantum proficit quo sanguis sin- 
gulas partes ingrediatur. 

42. Arteriae habent suas absolutas extremitates quoad plurimas pro- 
pagines e quibus sanguis intra partes effluit. 

43. Et quo ipse per porosas imprimis partes progrediatur, non efficit, 
neque sufficit pulsus cordis, sed Tonns partium sive motus 
alternans constrictorius et relaxatorius. 

44. Hac contribuit fluiditas sanguinis et motus voluntarius corporis. 

45. Sanguis enim, qui ex arteriis affluit, fluidior est, quam qui in«venis 
deprehenditur, quae fluiditas et subtilitas sanguini conciliatur, dum 
per pulmones progreditur, et e ventriculo cordis pellitur. 

46. In partibus porosis vero sanguis adhuc magis attenuatur et fluidus 
redditur, dum per easdem transprimituretin iisdem conquassatur. ! 

47. Quid quod in illis partibus magis concalescit, dum inter fibrillas 
atteritur et proprimitur. 

48. Ita calor sanguinis non a nudo motu intestino molecularum san- 
guinearum, imprimis inflammabilium provenit, sed ab illaallisione, 
attritione, collisione, appressione et transpressione in et per poros 
fibrillarum, tanquam per partes solidas. 

49. Hie tonus, qui ad promotionem sanguinis per partes porosas 
concurrit, proportionate ordine alternat cum pulsu : unde qualis 
pulsus, talis etiam est tonus : loquor vero de gradu et ordine. 

50. Sanguinis reditum e capite promovent menibranae capitis, quibus 
vasa sanguifera intertexta sunt : illae enim ut nervosae continuo 
subtili constrictorio motu gaudent, et vasa venosa comprimentes 
adjuvant refluxum sanguinis ad cor. 

51. E partibus porosis vero progreditur sanguis in venas, harumque 
minutissima ostiola ingreditur. 


No. 5-2. Et quanquam hie ingrcssus difficilis esse ab adversaries et anasto- 
moseos autoribus prssumatur, tamen ille per diversa commoda 
adjuvatur et promovetur. 

53. Etenimcommemoratardifficultateslongemagispremuntsuppositam 

totalem anastomosin. 

54. Per venas refluit sanguis a partibus ad cor, nisi sola vena portae 
excipiatur, per quam sanguis a partibus ad partem iterum progre- 
ditur, interea tamen ad refluxum versus cor omnino respicit. 

55. Hie progressus sanguinis per venas videtur adhuc majoribus diffi- 
cultatibus premi, cum in toto spatioso corporis humani trunco 
per ascensionem profluat, propterea etiam eminenti et evidenti 
motu indigeat. 

56. Interim ad promovendum hunc regressum sanguinis diversa ad- 
minicula contribuunt, inter quae nominari etiam debent valvulx 
venarum, quarum praesentia tam in corde, quam in venis Harveum 
permovit, quo circulum sanguinis agnosceret. 

57. Quando in aliqua vena valvulae tales deficiunt, tunc alia subsidia 
earundem defectum supplent, quod imprimis valet de vena portae 
et azygos. 

58. Sub hoc paulo tardiori refluxu sanguinis per venas ad cor, ipse 
sanguis in spissiusculam consistentiam redit. 

59. In hac motus progressivi consideratione physiologica, hodiernis 
avis floret sententia quaedam inter medicos, anatomicis imprimis 
subtilitatibus inhaerentes, de anastomosi vasorum sanguiferorum 

60. De hac anastomosi traditur, quod sanguis ex arteriis immediate in 
venas profluat, neque in partes vel porosas vel cribrosas alias 

61. Supponitur enim quod arteriarum fines fint venarum initia, aut 
per interpositas valvulas in venas continuent, ex qua connexione 
et convolutione glandularum texturam et compagem credunt, fin- 
gunt et statuunt. 

62. Et qui vulgo anastomosi in anatomicis et theoreticis favunt, mox 
a particulari ad universale argumentantur et totalem in corpore 
humano anastomosin supponunt. 

63. Licet vero ex mero, sic dici solito, lusu naturae ob copiam vasorum 
in aliquibus partibus, anastomosis occurat, tamen eadem non per- 
tinet ad essentiam corporis, neque absoluta et universalis est.* 

64. Hie motus, quern progressivum appellamus non est actus simpli- 
citer mechanicus ex se pendens, aut a corpore et causis atque 
qualitatibus corporeis proveniens. 

65. Sed est actus non alterius principii et causae efficientis, quam 
solius naturae hominis, quod assertum variae rationes comprobant. 

* Here, the author adds in a note, " Conf. Stahlius de mechanismo motus pro- 
gressivi sanguinis," thes. 3. which I have not seen. 


No. 66. Praeter sanguinis circulura et progressum, differunt etiam Physiologi 
et Anatomici de circulatione lymphae, quae cum sanguine effluit, 
per ductum thoracicum vero refluit in sanguinem. 

From this interesting compend, a century later than Harvey's 
promulgation of his alleged discovery, we find the doctrines of 
porosities and of anastomoses equally unsettled and undecided ! 
Can that be considered as a discovery, (if it was not negatived 
by other considerations,) in the solution of which, not only at 
the time, but ever since, and up to the present period, the most 
important, nay, the only link, is still defective ! Galen believed in 
a circulation ; but his claims have been contested, because he is 
said to have advocated the passage of the blood from the right 
to the left ventricle of the heart, through the unproved and un- 
detected pores of its septum ! If Harvey's demonstration is 
equally unproved; if the pores he employs in every part are yet 
undetected, although two hundred years have elapsed, and 
microscopes and injections carried to the highest perfection ; 
why are we to crown this imperfect product, to the entire 
prostration of every other claimant I 

In copying these concise views, I have been thereto induced 
from the very imperfect manner in which Harvey has treated 
the subject, both of pores and anastomoses. As the learned 
Alberti was a warm advocate of Harvey, we may safely pre- 
sume that Harvey's ideas are here more fully developed ; and 
we notice, that both the doctrines alluded to, had their respective 
partisans, as at the present day. Which is right, is yet unde- 
termined, as in the days of Harvey ; may we not say, of Galen 
himself? In advocating anastomosis he opposes porosities, as 
we shall see hereafter : and yet we claim for Harvey an undis- 
puted honour, for an unproved discovery ! It is to be hoped 
that the above short exhibit will not be overlooked by the intel- 
ligent inquirer ; even should it compel him to rub up his Latin ! 
Certain it is, if Harvey has not fully demonstrated the quo modo 
of the passage of the blood from the arteries to veins, the dis- 
covery was, in his hands, incomplete ; and whatever foundation 
there may be for his claim in other particulars, this hiatus 
maximc deflendus will as effectually shut him out from the 


true character of the discoverer, as it has done in the case of 
one, infinitely his superior, the illustrious and neglected Galen. 

This subject of pores and anastomoses is one of too much 
importance, in connexion with the Harveian claims, to be 
concisely passed over ; and having, in the course of my inves- 
tigation, met with much unexpected information from numerous 
sources, I cannot but imagine that it will interest the reader ; 
and perhaps enable him the more correctly to appreciate 
the real character and extent of Harvey's rights. We are to 
recollect, that Harvey is to be judged of, by then existing 
circumstances, and not by that false brilliancy of long 
continued approbation, without duly weighing either side of 
the question. His claims have been so long admitted by the 
profession at large, in every quarter of the world, as incon- 
testible ; that its members, now, are but slightly impelled by 
any motive to run over details that have received the sanction 
of time ; and the unlucky individual who hazards a doubt on 
the subject, under the deliberate persuasion that he is merely 
performing an act of justice to neglected merit, will probably 
be rewarded by the castigation of reviewers, who will not take 
a step in the inquiry themselves. Without any particular 
reference to the order of time, I now proceed with some other 
authorities on this subject. 

The Fundamenta Medicinse reformatse physico-anatomica, 
of F. Zyph^us, printed at Brussels in 1683. — The second edit, 
of 1687, from which I quote, after pointing out, in his chapter 
" de circulatione Sanguinis," several facts in proof of a circu- 
lation, thus proceeds, (p. 190.) to demonstrate the "modus 
circulandi ;" and after stating its usually admitted route from 
the right to the left side of the heart, then proceeds to notice its 
dispersion by the aorta, 

"per totum corpus, ex qua denuo in correspondentes Venae Portae et 
Cavae ramos, ad auriculam dextram, velut ante, ducitur, — idque secundum 
dicta quatuor modis, nempe immediate, per inosculationem ramorum, et tran- 
sudationem ex arteria in adjunctam venam ,■ vel mediate per carnem mediam 
inter ramos venosos et arteriosos, et per sinus, corumque ramos in cerebro, 
ubi sanguis ex arteriis carotidibus et vertebralibus, a sinibus absorbetur, et 
ex his ad jugulares amandatur.'' 



Believing thus, that the blood " circuletur per carnem," he 
attempts to prove it by sundry facts, which although admitted, 
yet scarcely answer the object ; he concludes his remarks by 

"Intrat vero sanguis carnem, vel ex tenuibus, simplicissimis, et porosis 
arteriarum capillarium tunicis, vel per illarum extremitates." 

So very indefinite, it appears, had the full discovery of the 
circulation by Harvey, sixty years before, left it in the minds of 
his adherents ! I mean this most important part, the mode of 
its vascular intercommunication. Surely none will doubt— or, 
if they do, we shall soon have a chance of removing those 
doubts by good authority ; that at all times, a circulation was 
accredited, even admitting the route to be misunderstood. And 
shall an imperfect lucubration be considered as having a better 
claim, because advanced by Harvey 1 Surely no one of the 
profession would now desire to be measured by a standard so 
unsatisfactory ; and to claim the whole, when scarcely meriting 
a part ! I cannot but think the exclamation of Anthony over 
the body of Caesar is here appropriate : 

" Oh ! judgment— thou art fled to brutish beasts, 
And men have lost their reason." 

But we have much more to lay before our readers ; and as 
Alberti, in his fifty-sixth paragraph adverts to the valves in the 
veins, as leading Harvey to the important truth ; we shall take the 
opportunity to say, " il n'est que le premier pas qui coute." If 
Harvey or his adherents had any where given us a satisfactory 
elucidation of the mode, by which nature contrived to make the 
arterial blood, thrown out of the general circulation into the 
asserted porosities of the flesh, reach even the first of the 
venous valves, we should have no difficulty in comprehending 
its path to the second, third, and so on: but the more the 
subject is considered, by so much the more, does this doctrine 
of the pores appear too poor for nature to have adopted: and 
I must say, I infinitely prefer Galen's proposition of the 
"mutua anastomosis, atque oscillorum apertio arterus simul 



cum venis" to that of Harvey ; even coupled with the notion 
that they " transumunt ex sese pariter sanguinem et spiritum, 
per invisibiles quasdam atque angustus plane vias." (De usu, 
part. lib. 6. cap. 10.) It is by no means impossible, that these 
invisible and narrow passages may have led Harvey to the 
idea of pores, which Galen reprobated. Be all this, however, 
as it may; admitting the blood to be thus thrown into the 
parenchyma or porosities of the parts ; it is then left in the dark, 
to find its own way, to scramble as it may, perhaps, like Fmripus, 
backwards and forwards, and find the orifice of the vein it is 
to enter. We have no explanation of it, that the mind can rest 
on, as likely to answer; nay, Harvey has not even taken 
advantage, as he might have done, to explain it, of the self 
intestine movement of the blood, of which we before took 
notice. But apart from this, is it not a fact, that in some of the 
lower orders of animated nature, a mere intestine movement of 
the blood — a backward and forward motion, alone, constitutes 
the real character of the circulation ? If so, this simple doctrine 
applied to man, would have some analogy in its support ; whilst 
that, which throws the blood entirely beyond the reach of 
vascular control, can scarcely be deemed to possess the 
slightest resting-place. 

This doctrine of the porosities is not new, as we have 

already noticed, even in the hands of Harvey; and it will not 

be misplaced, therefore, further to explain how it was formerly 

comprehended. We quote from the Tractatus physico-medicus 

de homine" of Theodore Craanen, a former professor in the 

University of Ley den, where the work was printed in 1689 — 

4to. He appears a warm friend to the doctrines of Harvey, 

and ascribes the discovery of the circulation, exclusively, to 

him ; at the same time noticing, that it had been, by others, 

attributed to a certain monk, P. Sarpa, — from whom Harvey 

was supposed to have learned it, and more accurately 

examined and experimented thereon. However this be, he 

adds, p. 128. "Nos Harvaeo non detrectabimus gloriam hac in 

parte, et ille apud mortales, pro hac inventione,.quidem retinebit 

aeternam laudem." With this eulogium, we might, apparently, 

safely presume that his account of the porosities would accord 


fully with the ideas of Harvey. But no! at p. 273, when 
speaking of erysipelas and inflammation, he adverts to the 
ancients, as supposing those diseases to originate from an 
extravasation of the blood; and that also, the parts were 
nourished by means of the blood, which they considered as 
being naturally extravasated and deposited ; but, adds he, if this 
be true, " quod sanguis extravasetur, tunc non potest esse causa 
Erysipelatis, aut si est, deberent semper omnes homines 
Erysipelate tentari;" and, therefore, says he, they contradict 
themselves, as this is not the case. In order to give a clearer 
idea of this business, he proceeds to consider the nature of a 
tube or canal, and the pores, necessarily left by their formation ; 
a plate accompanies this, wherein are to be found a variety of 
forms of pores, round, quadrangular, &c; all harmonizing 
admirably with his doctrines, which are quite as well sustained 
as any present dogma. His own words will sufficiently 
illustrate this. 

" Obstructions quoque omnes hie crepant, sed nullam injiciunt men- 
tionem pororum, qualium, non considerant tubulos partium earumque poros ,■ 
vidimus enim antea, quod tubuli erant exigui canales, relicti a tribus vel 
pluribus fibrillis sibi incumbentibus ; quae non possunt tam prope ad se 
invicem accedere, quin spatium aliquod relinquunt, quod nos tubulum vel 
canalem vocamus ; tales autem innumeri dantur in quolibet musculo, 
et membrana, vel alia nostri corporis parte, qui omnes constant ex meris 
fibrillis inter se contextis." " Pori autem sunt ilia spatiola, quae relin- 
quuntur a fibrillis inter se vario situ intertextis, non aliter ac videmus spatiola 
inter contextus linteamentorum. Dantur adhuc alii et multo exiguiores 
pori in ipsa fibrillarum substantia — " 

Thanks to this good man for his most learned exposition of 
tubuli et pori! Enlightened by his eloquence, we shall no 
longer find it difficult to follow up the route of circulation; 
now, that the nature of the pores, porosities, or sieve-like 
vacuities, may be presumed to be fully comprehended by every 
reader, even should he be unable to detect them by the 
microscope! This is of no consequence; it is sufficient to 
detect them with the eye of faith-the only detection they ever 
have, or will receive ! But, without full credence in them, it is 


more clear than themselves, that no one can ever fully follow 
up the Harveian circulation! — I cannot exactly determine, if 
the learned author was an exclusive Porist: or whether he 
had not likewise a leaning to anastomoses. At p. 290 he 
refers thereto, and justice to all requires its insertion. He 
is about to speak " de transgressu sanguinis in venas :" and 
he says that much has been written on the subject of anasto- 
moses ; of which, Bartholine has noticed three species, viz. : 

" Primum, quando osculura arteriae ingrediatur osculum venae. 2. Quando 
transverse ductus arteriosi transeant in venas. 3. Quando vena et arteria 
communi latere sint connatae inter se, inter cujus lateris fibrillas est fissura 
seu rimula quaedam, per quam iret sanguis ex arteria in venam." 

This triplicity of anastomosis is not less a matter of faith, if 
we are to credit Craanen ; for he immediately superadds to the 
above, that 

" Multi Neoterici haec tria genera negarunt, sed argument*) plane negativo, 
quia non poterant ostendi in cadaver ibus." 

In general, this would be deemed a pretty sound argument ! 
and more applicable to the doctrine of porosities, probably, than 
to the other. Our excellent author seems puzzled what to think 
of all this ; yet is perfectly assured that a passage of some kind 
is absolutely necessary. 

" Certum autem est, quod debeat esse aliquavia, cum de facto nemo amplius 
dubitat; (circumstantial evidence, however, only exists in its behalf, so 
long as the mode of intercommunication is absolutely defective!) circulatio 
enim sanguinis, omnibus est manifesta, factum constat in hepate, corde, 
cerebro, in pulmonibus clarissimum est, quomodo enim sinister ventriculus 
acciperet sanguinem ex dextro, nisi ex arteriis pulmonalibus transeat in venas 
cognomines, et sic deferatur in sinistrum cordis ventriculum] Deinde quo- 
modo possibile esset, ut sinister ventriculus pulset eodem momento, quo 
dexter, nisi continuo sanguis iret ex dextro ventriculo ad sinistrum per vasa 
pulmonalia ? Quxstio hie igitur tantum esse potest de modo, quo sanguis 
transeat ex arteriis in venas." " Illorum argumentum nullum esse scimus 
omnes, cum negativa argumentatio non procedat; ergo non video, ergo non 
datur; si enim multa non deberent dari in rerum natura, quae tamen sunt, licet 
sensibus crassis non queant detegi : de hoc maxime conqueritur Cartesius, 
homines inquit ubi nihil vident, aut sensibus percipiunt, illic nihil esse 


statuunt, quod tamen in philosophando praejudicium est, sane maximum et 
abominandum ; multorum enim existentiam negare non audemus, quae tamen 
nullis sensibus existere percipimus : hoc ipsum etiam in medicina locum 
habet maximum." 

These remarks are undoubtedly just, and will apply equally 
well to the porosities of Galen, in the septum cordis, as to those 
of Harvey in every part of the body ! But let us hear him asking 
for information on the subject, of Swammerdam. 

"Rogavi quandoque piae memoriae Dominum Swammerdamium an ar- 
terix non essent continual cum vents ? hoc est, an non sibi inoscularentur, et 
principium venarum sit ab extremitate arteriarum, quarum principium oritur 
a corde ; affirmavit hoc ipsum subtilissima anatomia expertum esse, omnia 
vasa esse continua." 

Here then we find the testimony of the most indefatigable of 
microscopic experimenters, in his reply to Craanen, to be alto- 
gether favourable to anastomoses. And, lest Craanen may be 
supposed to have misrepresented him, we may.confirm that testi- 
mony, directly, from the writings of Swammerdam himself, in a 
letter to Boerhaave of Nov. 5th, 1716. from vol. 1. p. 286. 4to. 
Ed. Leyd. 1722. 

" Omnia enim corporis vasa, quantxvis sint exilitatis, non sunt nisi unius 
et'ejusdem continuatio vasis. Quippe si quid sanguinis ex vase quopiam 
in quamlibet corporis partem effusum esset, illud nulla via posset remisceri 
sanguini; sed tracta corruptione putrescent." "Medicus quidam (Qui 
did he mean Harvey ?) paucos ab hinc annos in scriptis suis tradidit, sangui- 
nem per fibrillas corneas in orbem circumire, sive circulari : et ille quidem 
hanc opinionis suae rationera allegat, quod caro ob illam sanguinis circui- 
tionem rubescat !" " Sed frivola est ipsa probatio," &c. 

If more is wanting to prove the uncertainty of opinion as to 
the particular mode of sanguine communication, between the 
arteries and veins; and that nothing was demonstrated or 
proved by Harvey or his followers, so as to give him a decided 
superiority over his predecessors in the same field of anatomical 
investigation ; we may refer to Albert Keyper, in his " Institu- 
tions medicae, ad hypothesin de circulari sanguinis motu com- 
positce." 4to. Amsterdam, 1654. In p. 29. we find the following. 


" Communicant arteriae cum venis, non solum vicinia, verum etiam 
anastomosibus turn in medio turn in extremis, in his tamen minus eviden- 
tibus, ut hodie in controversion! vocentur (that is, one-fourth of a century 
after Harvey professes in his printed works to have settled the question), 
quandoquidem aliqui per porositates carnium tantum in extremis comrau- 
riionem fieri existiment." 

May we be permitted, here, to ask anatomists and physiolo- 
gists whether this business is even yet settled, two hundred 
years since Harvey promulgated his doctrines ? and which is 
preferred generally ;. the anastomoses of Galen, or the porosities 
of Harvey 1 

Ruysch, in his 15th Epistle, 4 to. edit, of 1724, printed at 
Amsterdam, on the subject of the extreme branches of the blood- 
vessels (De vasorum sanguinorum extremitatibus) replies to Dr. 
A. H. Graetz — who had stated to him, that Harvey had left 
unexplained, the "Usus verus vasorum, et cumprimis porum 
extremitatum in visceribus seque ac in reliquis corporis humani 
partibus," &c. adding, moreover, in a further part, that if the 
mere office of the veins and arteries was correct, as held by the 
mass of physicians (vulgaris medicorum opinio,) viz. as con- 
sisting alone in the veins returning back the blood, which the 
arteries had carried forth; 

" Haud opus, credo, fuisset providae naturae, diversum ab alioque dis- 
tinctum arteriarum et venarum cursum ac repta'tum unicuique visceri lar- 
giri, nisi praestantior arteriarum extremitatum esse usus, quam quidem in 
hunc usque diem a medicis est creditum." 

And he asks, as a great obligation, to be enlightened on the 
subject, by Ruysch's researches. It is obvious from all this, 
that Harvey, who taught his doctrines so early as 1616, and 
printed them about ten or twelve years afterwards, viz. in 1628 ; 
after having had ample time, by his own confession, to render 
that complete, which had been " perfect some years" before ; 
and who tells us, moreover, that " this only book does affirm the 
blood to pass forth, and return through unwonted tracts, con- 
trary to the received way, through so many ages of years in- 
sisted upon," (see Dedicatory Epistle) ; it is obvious, I repeat, 
that his elucidations were imperfect: since up to the time of 


Ruysch's reply to Graetz, in 1704, that is, nearly a century from 
Harvey's public demonstrations, this junction of the vessels had 
never been satisfactorily demonstrated. Even Ruysch, with all 
his exquisite anatomical skill, aided by his superior attainment 
in injecting the vessels, and by improved microscopes ; even he, 
could not clearly resolve the problem ! as the following extract 
from his reply will prove. 

" Sanguis autem refluus a venis recipitur idque per anastomoses fieri ex- 
istimo, quantumvis ese quoque videri nequeant" 

If after a century, then, the first anatomist of the age had not 
been able to satisfy his mind as to this most essential point, the 
actual mode of intercommunication of the vessels; if Harvey 
himself had never demonstrated it, or, in attempting it, failed; 
if, even now, the subject-matter is still sub judice, and merely 
the object of suspicion, whichever side be adopted; wherein do 
we actually differ from the ancients, who believed in a circula- 
tion of some sort, as essential to the animal economy, from cir- 
cumstantial evidence alone, and uncertain of the manner; since, 
as the mode of vascular communication being still undetermined, 
circumstantial evidence is also that alone on which we are 
obliged to depend ! 

I now take up another writer, the warm advocate of Harvey 
and his doctrines ; from whom I shall make some extracts ; and 
I have the advantage here of an English translation by Salmon. 
The author alluded to is Isbrand de Diemerbroeck, in his 
" Anatomy of the Human Body," ed. of 1694., Lond. fol. 

In the preface to this work, we find the following words of 
the editor in relation to Harvey: " No less than immortal glory 
can be due to the renowned Harvey, our countryman, for find- 
ing out the circulation of the blood," so that the full credit of the 
discovery is awarded to him, with no reference to any other 
person, either directly or remotely. It might, perhaps, admit of 
inquiry, what influence the circulation could be supposed to 
exert in the human body, by Diemerbroeck, when he lays it 
down as manifest, that "the blood and spirits and other humours, 
are not parts of the body." (p. 5.) Hypothesis can scarcely go 
bevond this. Under the head of " The true mode of the Circu- 


lation," p. 320, he says that, " It is apparent, that the blood does 
not only circulate by the said anastomoses, but through the 
substance itself of the parts." — "Now that the blood flows into 
the pores of the parts, and returns through those into the veins, 
is apparent." — " This opinion of ours is confirmed by Harvey, 
Plempius, Pecquet, and Charlton." — " There is no reason to fear 
tumours, inflammations, aposthemes, &c, because the blood is 
■poured forth without the arteries into the substance of the parts: 
for by reason of the narrowness of the arteries ending in the 
substance, no more flows in, than can pass conveniently through 
the pores, and be again suckt in by the orifices of the veins." ! ! 
This is the first attempt that I find, to explain the rationale of 
nature in this extraordinary step she is asserted to adopt, in 
order to transfer the blood from the arteries to the veins : and 
we owe him thanks for the elucidation it affords ! No doubt he 
saw it clearly, if not with corporeal, assuredly with the eyes of 
an unqualified faith ! and with such we may not venture further 
to contest. He delivers, however, this doctrine of the pores so 
explicitly, that I could not well omit to mention it here. 

Like Harvey, he makes the heart the source of heat; and, as 
the blood (p. 322), 

" The further off it flows from the hearth of its fire, is so much the more 
refrigerated, and less a part of nourishment; there is a necessity of its re- 
turn to the fountain of heat, the heart, to be again new warmed and attenuated 
therein, which return is occasioned by the circulation." 

And at p. 329, he makes the heart likewise, as its " chief and 
primary action" to form or make blood. See also p. 33, "Now 
blood is a red juice, made in the heart out of the chylus for the 
nourishment of the whole body." This was the ancient opinion 
of Hippocrates; and had not Galen seceded from it, and attri- 
buted sanguification to the liver or to the veins, or to both con- 
jointly, (in which Vesalius, Columbus, and many others coin- 
cided,) it is ten chances to one, that Harvey would never have 
adopted it! but, says Diemerbroeck, "in this our age, the ancient 
truth, that lay long wrapt up in thick clouds; again broke forth 
out of darkness into light;" and he soon after adds: 


"This sanguifying duty, the most famous philosophers at this day allow 
the heart; so that there are very few left that uphold the Galenic sentence 
of the liver any longer." 

Let us, nevertheless, seriously reflect, whether, if Galen's idea 
of the liver being the organ of sanguification, be thrown aside; 
we shall gain any thing in correct physiology, by adopting Har- 
vey as our guide? The heart seems clearly intended, as a 
powerful forcing-pump, to propel the blood, when formed, to 
every part of the body; and, having a double part to act, in all 
such animals as are provided with lungs. Without such an 
hydrostatic force, by what means could this wonderful and 
most mysterious fluid, this vital intermedium, if we may so 
speak, between mind and matter; ever have been effective in 
the animal economy ! Requiring continual elimination, as in its 
progress its important duties were performed; was it nothing in 
the economy of nature, that, contrary to her usual course, she 
employs the largest gland in the body; perhaps, in size, equal to 
all the others conjoined; was it nothing that she employed this, 
to secrete perpetually from venous blood, (not arterial,) a large 
amount of matter in the form of bile, before that venous blood 
could safely pass to the heart and lungs! and if we have just 
grounds for believing this elimination to be a most important 
preliminary step to the pulmonary arterialization of the residue, 
wherefore may we not adopt the Galenic views of heematosis, at 
least in part? But what function does the heart possess, by 
which, in even the most remote manner, it can be supposed to 
aid this process? Can one be mentioned? Yet is this most 
wonderful of all wonderful transformations, that of chyle into 
blood, ascribed to the power or function of the heart, by Harvey 
and his early followers ! Was his physiology to be maintained 
at all hazards, without objection or reply ! were his opponents 
to be converted, or set down, by sarcasm and idle ribaldry ; or 
to be considered as altogether undeserving of reply ? Let any 
one compare the physiology that Harvey taught, as he assures 
us, founded on the great discovery of the circulation made by 
him, with that which now prevails; and judge thereby, of the 
little value, that mere route of circulation has really conferred 
upon the medical profession. It is not improbable that the blood, 



as an organized and living mass, (although Diemerbroeck and 
others deny it to have life and spirits — and, as he again repeats 
in p. 343, that it is not a part of the body,) possesses functions 
sui generis; and that amongst these, by some process of vital 
chemistry co-operating with the various emunctories, is that 
of resolving into its own character, the heterogeneous matters 
presented to it. Something like this appears to have been the 
opinion of the celebrated Glisson ; who concludes, (says Die- 
merbroeck, p. 330,) "that the blood is not generated and moved 
in the heart; but that the heat and blood are generated by the 
spirit, or vivifying juice which is in the blood itself." Now, if 
neither the heart, nor liver, are sanguifying organs; surely, the 
almost inanimate and elastic tubes, either arteries or veins, can 
scarcely be considered as better calculated for that important 
function ! If our doctrines in this point are equally unproved 
with those of Galen or Harvey, wherefore may not that of Glis- 
son be tolerated, until one more probable or plausible may be 
presented to us! Diemerbroeck, in sustaining the Harveian 
opinion, has endeavoured, of course, to weaken or destroy that 
of Glisson ; but I think he has altogether failed therein. There 
is no modification of the opinion by him; he holds it as being 
that of Harvey, and at p. 337, he repeats it thus : " In the mean 
time certain it is, that the chylus passing through the heart, and 
therein dilated, loses the form of chylus, and at the very same 
moment assumes another, that is to say, the form of blood." 

In proceeding to consider (p. 344) " whether parts are nou- 
rished by veiny or arterious blood," he adverts to the ancient idea 
of its being veinous, 

" Because the blood was thought to be made in the liver, and carried 
thence through the veins to the parts. Which error being discovered by the 
circulation of the blood, since which time, it has been observed, that the 
blood is made only in the heart." 

Admitting thus the error of venous nutrition, he yet imme- 
diately falls into the very same, by telling us that " whilst the 
blood returns through the veins to the heart, some small part of 
it sweating through the pores of the vessels or tunicles, are fixed 
up and down to various parts and nourish them ; and that the 



tunicles of the veins themselves are nourished by the blood which 
they carry ; and that the greatest part of the liver receives its 
nourishment from the veiny blood, as is apparent from the vast 
number of veins, and small quantity of arteries that creep through 
it." Arterial and veinous nutrition are here, we perceive, both 
admitted. Can it be said that the real character or use of the 
circulation was fully comprehended by Harvey, or that they 
have been correctly unfolded, either by him or his followers 1 
What function has Harvey better explained, than has been done 
by Galen? Is it that of respiration? As Diemerbroeck's views 
scarcely differ from those of Harvey, although at nearly half a 
century difference ; I shall here mention them, to prevent repe- 
tition, when I come to consider the opinion of Harvey in its im- 
mediate place: It will corroborate what is above said, as to 
the little real importance that Harvey's discovery actually con- 
ferred on the doctrines of physiology! At p. 357, he says, the 
office of the lungs is to be serviceable for respiration, and then 
explains the various steps of the process as intended to refrige- 
rate and condense the hot spirituous blood, so as to enable it to 
pass more readily into the left ventricle, " and there be dilated 
and spiritualized, and be wrought to a greater perfection." In 
explaining " its end" he is no less absurd ; 

"For because the blood breaking forth from the right ventricle of the 
heart into the lungs, is much dilated, very light, and requires twenty times a 
larger room than condensed blood, which the left ventricle cannot afford, hence 
there is a necessity that that same vapour sealed up, be again condensed into 
the thickness of blood, and so become heavier." 

Such are the important physiological deductions from the 
Harviean doctrines of the circulation! It is doubtful, whether 
any of Galen's opinions, even supposing him altogether ignorant 
of the circulation, were quite so absurd ! Nor, in explaining 
syncope, did Galen reason so ridiculously as either Diemerbroeck 
or Harvey. Speculating on the important advantages of this 
great discovery, Diemerbroeck says, p. 358 : 

« Hence it is apparent why in a stove that is overheated, many times we 
fall into a swoon ; because the air being suck'd in, cannot sufficently con- 
dense the vaporous blood, for want of cold ; so that the lungs become filled 


with that blood, and afford but little or no condensed blood to the left ven- 
tricle, to be dilated anew !" 

And yet this discovery, which was to rectify all ancient errors 
in physiological research — nay, in every other department of 
medical science — has brought forth this, and similar fooleries 
in the most ardent advocates of Harvey ; and they, men of 
candour and unexampled erudition ! Well may it be said of it, 
" Mons parturiens nascitur ridiculus mus." Those who still 
think, that the mere discovery of the circulation by Harvey, 
(admitting him to the undisputed claim ;) was the basis of all 
true knowledge in our science, are earnestly requested to reflect 
on how much truth it actually has accomplished, in the above 
or other particulars ! Is the physiology of our time more settled 
or more satisfactory ? What do we know, beyond all dispute, as 
to nutrition, sanguification, animal heat, &c. ? Is the oxygenation 
or decarbonization of the blood, exclusively agreed on ? Is even 
the absorption, or non-absorption of nitrogen, in the process of 
respiration, definitively settled ? and, although the chief know- 
ledge we possess of fever may be considered as derived from 
the blood and vessels, has the mere "discovery of the circulation 
unfolded its locality? Is it not, indeed, itself the locality of fever! 
if any individual part can be so accounted, in an affection of a 
character so universal ? Nay, even in this last respect, what is it, 
of the body, but the blood alone, which is universal in its distri- 
bution ; and which has never yet been found wanting in the 
system, whilst every other part, without exception, has been found 
defective or absolutely wanting! Now, if nothing has been 
gained, not even probably, in practice, as I shall attempt to 
prove in another part; wherein does the unbounded praise 
ascribed to this asserted discovery consist? And the high standing 
of Diemerbroeck, as a practitioner, and as an anatomist, pre- 
cludes any idea, that he is not a fair example, from whence to 
judge ; for, in fact, we shall find almost every one of his views 
reflected from those of Harvey himself. 

I must however, now, point to an author anterior to Harvey, 
that I may give a fair statement of the views entertained, on 
several of the particulars we have noticed, before the supposed 


discovery of the circulation. If Harvey never saw the writings 
I am about to quote, it is to be regretted, as he might, possibly, 
have thereby avoided some of those imperfections with which 
he abounds ; and if he did know them, 'tis pity he did not profit 
by them. 

Vidus Viduus, a name of high and deserved reputation, was 
a Florentine by birth, who died in 1567, about nine years prior 
to Harvey's birth. His works in fol. were printed by his son, 
in 1611, at Venice; he practised at Pisa with great success, and, 
as professor, lectured there for twenty years. 

In order to attain an idea of what was known or thought at 
that period respecting the veins and arteries, and also, we may 
add, of a circulation, I shall refer to p. 119, book 6th, where 
will be found his chapter on the veins (De Venis). He refers 
frequently to Galen and his writings: and he begins by asserting 
the universal distribution of the vessels; (ytefieg) signifying, 
among the ancients, both arteries and veins, but having then a 
distinctive meaning. Speaking of the veins he says, 

" Finis ob quern venae factae sunt a natura, est ut sint Vasa inquit Aris- 
toteles, (1. 3. de part. Anim.) et per eas quasi per canales sanguis in omnes 
partes corporis distribuatur .- sunt etiam factae venae ad procreandum sangui- 
nem, quam facultatem obtinent a jecinore ; (Gal. de us. part. lib. 1. ch. 16.) 
quo nomine referuntur venae inter partes rnultiformes, et ponuntur non secus 
ac nervi et arterise in communibus instruments totius corporis.'''' 

Hence may be deduced, a strong presumption of an accredited 
circulation, even if imperfectly explained; and requiring but 
little to render it complete. Again, 

" Superficies levis, cava patent naturaliter quantum necesse est ad san- 
guinem distribuendum, sicut et extrema ora per quae impertiunt sanguinem 
arteriis, et ab illis spiritum accipiunt." 

And subsequently, showing the proportion of blood carried to 
a part, to be in the ratio of its required nutrition, he says, 

" Cor quamvis durum sit, ob calorem tamen ingentem plurimo eget ali- 
mento, et idcirco a venis grandioribus nutritur, at renes venas habent latas, 
non quo plurimum alimenti postulent, sed quo per eas sanguinem expur- 


Surely, a man expressing himself thus, must have had a con- 
viction of the importance and existence of a circulation, although 
he might not have distinctly known its route; and was imbued 
moreover with the Galenic ideas of an hepatic origin of blood. 
It would seem to prove an adequate conception by him, both of 
its actual existence and high importance, when he subjoins, 
p. 120, 

" Constat autem venas nullam propriam actionem praestare, sed tantum 
usum canalium, per quos ut diximus sanguis fertur ad alendas omnes partes 

And when speaking of the arteries, p. 121, he says, 

" Habent et extremae arteriae ora, sicut et extremae venae, quae se mutud 
contingunt, atque ubi res postulat aperiuntur ut utraeque ex se mutuo attra- 
hunt quod utile est." 

The connexion is here fully maintained, even though an in- 
correct explanation is given for it. And in the sixth book, de 
Pericardio, et materia cordis, p. 261, he speaks of the vena 
arterialis (pulm. artery) arising from the right side or ventricle, 
through which 

" Quandoquidem non exigua pars ejus sanguinis ex dextro ventriculo 
cordis, penetrat in sinistrum, unde per arteriam magnam dividitur in arteriis 
totius corporis." 

With these, and many similar evidences of his penetration in 
the subject before us; can the mere fact, if fully admitted, of a 
more correct and experimentally proved route of the blood, be 
considered as a discovery of the circulation, with that perfect 
candour, and with that due degree of justice, to which others 
are entitled 1 Had it been denominated a confirmation, or veri- 
fication, or by some analogous term; which, whilst surrendering 
to Harvey every fair claim that could be asked; would, at the 
same time, render it probable that without all these preliminary 
links, Harvey would not have dreamed of claiming the complete 
chain ; we should have deemed him deserving of every praise : 
but, with the evidence already adduced, and more that will yet 
appear, I should do violence to my conscience, if I did not 


explicitly avow my belief, that he is not entitled to the supreme 
distinction he so long has retained. 

I must be pardoned for still further trespassing on the patience 
of the reader, by presenting for his consideration a few extracts 
from the " Dissertationes Medicae" of the celebrated Dr. A. 
Pitcairn; a man of the first eminence in his time; an undoubted 
believer in the circulation; and a warm friend to the claim of 
Harvey. I quote from the fourth 4to. ed. of his works, printed at 
the Hague in 1722. In p. 15, he thus begins his dissertation : 

" De circulatione sanguinis per vasa minima." 

"Docuit nos, prorsus novo et divinitus invento systemate, Harvaeus, 
sanguinem e corde per arterias excurrere, perque venas ad cor redire : 
unicumque hoc dogma fidei medicorum commendare contentus, cactera in 
obscuro rdiquit.'" 

This deserves attention; for if Harvey was content to com- 
mend this dogma of medical faith; and yet, beyond the mere 
general proof, has left the other parts in a state of obscurity; 
can he with perfect justice be considered as having discovered 
the circulation; and that without acknowledging the claim of 
others to the smallest part ? 

" At, cum compertum esset hoc usibus medicis non sufficere, cceperunt 
homines disputare, an sanguis ex arteriis effunderetur in partes corporis 
aliquas, per quas arteriae et venae hiantibus osculis dispergantur: an vero 
arteriae minimae non sanguinem crassum ad partes nutriendas, sed tenuiorem 
veherent et non rediturum, sanguisque omnis reliquus par arterias majores 
exiret in venas anastomosi junctas. Patet attendenti utrumvis horum 
dogmatum circulationi sanguinis adversari. Primum enim magnam partem 
sanguinis crassi (i. e. qualis in majoribus vasis continetur) emittit in 
partes corporis, aut potius inlerstitia partium. Secundum vero emittit partem 
sanguinis tenuiorem (id est, partem inclusi arteriis minoribus) dicatam 
partibus nutriendis; hoc est, docet magnam partem sanguinis non circulari, 
sed in viseribus, ut loquuntur, partiumque poris stagnare et haerere. Atqui, 
cum sanguis omnis in gyrum agatur a cordis et arteriarum impetu, ita ut 
hoc vigente non possit quiescere sanguis, patet stagnare eum in vasis 
minimis non posse, quin semper accidente sanguine haec disrumpantur, aut 
praeter modum sanguine non redituro per venas intumescant, quod in ani- 
mali sano non fit: patetque in poris haerere non posse, ob incrementum quod 
sequeretur perpetuum eadem ratione: quo plus enim ejus in poros effunde- 
retur, eo minus facile rediret ob occlusionem venae a circumfluo fiuido, ut 
postea ostendetur." 


Such, and so uncertain, seem to have been the opinions of 
physicians, all warmly espousing the general doctrine of a cir- 
culation ; in regard to the facts of this great " dogma fidei 
medicorum," which Harvey is supposed to have so fully illus- 
trated and discovered ! but which, at the expiration of more than 
a century, to the time of Pitcairn, was apparently as little com- 
prehended, (that is, truly, satisfactorily, and uniformly,) by the 
profession at large, as they profess to esteem- it to have been in 
the days of Galen ! Is it not indeed the fact, (and I appeal to 
those who have read and pondered the works of Harvey,) that 
his views do absolutely, as laid down by himself, lead to this 
character of uncertainty; and, consequently, are to the like de- 
gree imperfect ! I principally allude to his doctrines, so far as 
we can gather them; whether in physiology or in practice. In 
this last particular, its general influence may, perhaps, be judged 
of, by the following extract from Pitcairn ; who shows, I appre- 
hend, both with candour and with justice, how little, if at all, it 
superseded the practice of the ancients! At p. 17: 

"Omnes veromedici, qui methodum ullam, quamvis circulations ut credi 
volunt, convenientem tradiderunt, uno ore docent, sanguinem, aut in partibus, 
aut glandulis haerere : et quia sanguis, sive crassior, sive subtilior, in 
partium interstitiis detentus, eadem omnia symptomata et inferre et pati 
potest, quae veterum sanguis circulandi nescius. Idcirco eadem medendi 
methodus a recentioribus est ubiquefere adhibita, quae antiquis placuit, quamvis 
plerumque experiential et legibus circulations contraria. Unde non est miran- 
dum non major em factum esse mutationem in arte medica, cum morbi plerique 
oriantur vitio circulationis in vasis minimis, quam multi recentiorum non 
melius Hippocrate et Galeno intelligere se demonstrant." 

These are strong, but perfectly just estimates, of the very 
slight degree of real practical improvement, beyond that of 
former experience, which Harvey's discovery of the circulation, 
admitting it to be both new and perfect, had actually introduced. 
They are stated thus forcibly by one who fully appreciated its 
importance, and gave all due credit to Harvey himself; defend- 
ing him, moreover, from several " apud quos Harveana demon- 
strate fidem non invenit." Like the boy in the fable, we have 
continued to cry, Wolf! Wolf! without perceiving, like him, 
that we were, however, proclaiming what was unfounded, or, 


like the eulogies on the perpetual meteorological tables, com- 
mitted to almost all philosophical transactions, &c, their 
high value is asserted, but has never yet been proved, by any 
just and accurate deduction drawn therefrom ! such was even 
the case, apparently, in the time of Hippocrates, such is the case 
at the present day ! # as will be acknowledged by every candid 
reader. I profess not to review the different opinions that have 
successively appeared : I notice them, merely to show the weak- 
ness of the Harveian claim, since it is not perfect; but many 
things therein, as he says of Galen, are strangely clampered up : 
or if admitted even to be perfect, its real utility is not yet un- 
folded, beyond a few of its first pages, so far as we may judge 
from the discordant lights it has elicited ; for we must object to con- 
sider as such, the singular and discrepant ideas that have sprung 
up from mistaken or imperfect conceptions of its real character! 
and if, as Pitcairn proves, the ancients, unaided by a knowledge 
of the circulation, yet had adopted a mode of practice, which 
Harvey's discovery has scarcely modified; surely its advantages, 

* The following observations are given as a note by the editor (of "Traduction 
des CEuvres Medicales D'Hippocrate." Toulouse, 1801. Vol. I. p. 70.) at the 
§ 43 on the Humours. " What Hippocrates says in this treatise, as to the consti- 
tutions of the atmosphere, and his frequent repetition of the same doctrine through- 
out his writings, suggests to me an idea that has frequently presented itself to my 
mind, viz., It is principally from the observation of the phenomena of disease and 
health, that we are enabled to collect the most important information, respecting 
the state and variations of the atmosphere. 

" Hippocrates appears to have made his meteorological observations on the hu- 
man body alone ; yet how curious and interesting are his deductions from them ! 
I perceive, that for a great length of time, the atmosphere has been observed by 
means of barometers, thermometers, hygrometers, anemometers. Immense col- 
lections of such observations have been made, which arc both very dry and very 
useless (bicn sees ct bien steriles.) Every academy has its own : numerous indivi- 
duals have theirs, likewise. To these have since been joined, electrometers and eudio- 
meters. Much attention has not been given to the variations, in the number and 
state of hospital diseases : yet there would be found the means, in my opinion, the 
most adapted to make known, what is the most desirable to discover, relating to the 
effect of atmospheric variations. I do not wish to undervalue the use of physical 
instruments and meteorological observations. I am not entirely as yet convinced 
of their inutility : but assuredly the little benefit that has yet accrued from them, 
authorizes me to compare the majority of those who make meteorological obser- 
vations, with children, who innocently amuse themselves in arranging pictures, or 
playing with toys." 



as he gave it to the world, are at best problematical, and yet to 
be demonstrated. I must be allowed to think, until the opposite 
is clearly shown, that the mere discovery of the true route of the 
circulation, if due to Harvey, has been greatly overrated ! In 
itself, it is a most interesting point of physiology; but more 
particularly so, when considered in its intimate and absolute 
connexion with others no less interesting; such as nutrition, 
sanguification, and animal heat, &c. It is, in this connected 
view, pre-eminent ; and yet, will any one contend, that we are 
perfectly acquainted with those functions'? It has been attempt- 
ed to demonstrate, that the ignorance of the route of the blood 
by no means made the ancients less attentive, or less judicious 
practitioners, than were those of Harvey's period; and even to 
present times. Few would probably affirm the contrary, even 
of themselves, individually, unless at the expense of a little 
appropriate humility. And when we read such passages as 
these I am about to quote, we may probably admit the writers 
not to be altogether in the dark, as to a circulation; or unob- 
servant of practical experience in the operation of blood-letting ! 

¥ Locus autem naturaliter continens, (sanguis) sunt venx et arteriae, et 
concavitates cordis ,- aptus ad generationem spirituum, et ad omnia membra 
laudabiliter nutrienda." " Phlebotomia cum cautela debet fieri, si perfecto 
vis esse medicus semper time mensuram,- — semper ad pondus fac secundum 
vires, states, tempus, calores, immutationes temporum. Si sanguis a principio 
niger extiterit, fac extrahi donee deveniat rufus. Si spissus quousque veniat 

Such, and similar remarks, prove an experience, to which a 
mere knowledge of a more probable route or mode of circulation, 
would have added nothing; with the exception, possibly, of 
enabling the writer to modify some of his hypotheses, founded 
on the philosophy of the age; though very likely quite as 
correct as any of those of present notoriety. And who, the 
reader will ask, is this person, who thus admits the natural 
locality of the blood, to be both veins and arteries ? and who 
is so well acquainted, practically, with the influence of the non- 
naturals on the effect of blood-letting? and who, practically, 
also knew the effect of bleeding, in giving a brighter tint to a 


dark-coloured blood?* It was a man who lived in 1300, that is, 
nearly three hundred years before Harvey; the celebrated 
physician and alchymist, Arnoldus de Villa Nova, who wrote a 
treatise on the philosopher's stone ; but whose eccentricity in 
this respect seems not to have diminished in any degree his 
qualifications as a practitioner, as his writings amply testify. 
His works were printed, under the care of N. Taurellus, at Basil, 
in fol. 1585, or at the period of Harvey's birth ; and I may 
take the opportunity of stating, from his writings, p. 1853, in a 
chapter amongst his Questions " de mala complexione diversa," 
that the doctrine of porosities was a prevailing and a 
favourite one, apparently, long before Harvey. The subject is 
discussed, in the part referred to, under the title or question, 
"Utrum ibidem sit ponere vacuitates in corporibus" which, 
the author assures us, both Aristotle and Galen reprobated. As 
it was Harvey's business to differ from Galen and his anasto- 
moses ; so it would appear that he had no other way of making 
a complete circulation or passage of the blood from the 
arteries to the veins, but by either adopting those anastomoses ; 
or by repudiating them altogether, and adhering to the pores 
denied by Galen. 

Is this too extravagant a position to be assumed, all things 
considered ? Why, in mentioning Galen and his anastomose^ 
does Harvey say nothing of his opposition to the pores 1 If he 
knew it, and he was too well acquainted with his writings to 
doubt of this, it was at least reprehensible ; and if he really 

* It is this practical experience, that, at all times, without any reference to the 
mere route of circulation, has enabled the judicious physician to test the utility 
of bleeding, in removing this dark colour of the blood, and replacing it by blood 
of a florid hue. We see that Arnoldus de Villa Nova practised on this plan in 
the fourteenth century; and we have seen the same exemplified in the recom- 
mendation of Professor Chapman, in his well known letter to Dr. Tyler, in 1832, 
on the subject of the pestilential cholera, then existing in Philadelphia. See 
National Gazette of Sept. 4th of that year. « Let a vein be then opened and if 
the blood flows freely, take a large quantity, and especially should the pulse rise, 
and the blood become florid."-Is the former physician entitled to no credit ,n 
this case? he stands, in the instance before us, precisely as the predecessors ot 
Harvey, in relation to him. 

See his life, and extraordinary qualities, amply developed in an excellen. 
biography of the Med. Biog. of Diet, des Scien. Med. vol. I. p. 352. 


knew it not, it evinces unpardonable ignorance on a subject 
so deeply implicated in the consideration of his exclusive claim. 

In one of the letters, constituting a part of the correspondence 
with the United States Gazette, dated Washington, March 22d, 
1834, is an outline of Mr. Calhoun's speech, in relation to the 
plan of a Bank, as presented by Mr. Webster, and that -which 
he proposes as his own : a remark therein made, and which 
struck me at the moment, I believe first suggested to me the 
above suspicion ! assuredly it is perfectly consistent with our 
knowledge of human nature, and may therefore equally apply 
to Harvey, as to Calhoun ! " The restrictions (says the writer, 
meaning those in Mr. Calhoun's plan) were not greater than 
those proposed by Mr. Webster ; and it would appear that the 
only motive which could have induced Mr. Calhoun to dissent 
from the plan of Mr. Webster, was to obtain the paternity of the 
scheme. His views, continues the writer, in arriving at this 
object, I leave others to determine." Which intention, it will 
be most prudent for me likewise to adopt in regard to Harvey. 

To return from this digression on Villa Nova to Pitcairn, I 
may be permitted to say, that his Essay, entitled " Solutio 
Problematis de inventoribus" is a most admirable one; and, 
although intended to oppose, in favour of Harvey, the idea of 
the circulation having been known to Hippocrates; yet there 
is so much candour and ingenuity displayed in it, that I trust I 
shall be excused for a small extract or two from it, even if it 
had not really a strong bearing on the subject before us : and 
although the arguments are forcible against Hippocrates, they 
yet do not appear to be absolutely conclusive ; since it may be 
affirmed with great truth, I apprehend, that there is no certainty 
that he ever wrote, expressly, on the pulse and circulation; or, 
that if he did, it may very probably have perished with 
hundreds of other interesting medical documents, in the 
unfortunate conflagration of the Alexandrine Library. There 
can be no doubt, but that he has alluded to the pulse, and 
likewise to a circulation of some kind: now, if any writer 
should chance to mention a circulation, without expressly 
explaining its route, must it necessarily be concluded that he 
knew nothing about it ? But this is, really, the chief foundation 


of the arguments against Hippocrates and other ancient 
writers, not only in this particular, but in a variety of others. 
The reader will pardon me, if, in connexion with this opinion, 
I earnestly recommend to his perusal, the interesting and learned 
preface of Hercules Saxonia, to his Treatise " De Plica," 
published in 1600, at Padua, in 4to, wherein he attempts to show, 
that many diseases, upheld as new, were known to the ancients; 
whether successfully, must be for the reader to judge bf: but 
how? By symptoms alone, for names are often changed, or 
are deceptive from other circumstances. Should, however, a 
train of symptoms be clearly pointed out in an old writer, which 
can apply only to some one particular disease now known, and 
perhaps considered as new, will any candid man deny them to 
be one and the same 1 

In justice to Harvey, I might with some propriety introduce 
the whole of the essay of Pitcairn, to which I have above 
adverted : but my object is not to advocate the claims of 
Hippocrates; but to endeavour to prove, that no one person, 
individually considered, is entitled to the high and prescriptive 
appellation of Discoverer of the Circulation ! Confining myself 
therefore, to the short extract which follows, I shall only say, 
that I think the reader will find it both agreeable and useful 
to read the whole. It forms one of the best and most 
temperate vindication of the modern claim to the discovery of 
the circulation that I am acquainted with : of the route, I mean : 
for Pitcairn, and every other writer, pro or con, invariably 
admit, directly or indirectly, that the idea of a circulation was 
common to the ancients. I shall begin with one, at p. 97, 
wherein it will be seen, how strongly favourable he is to the 
Harveian claim. 

" Eodem modo, non debuisset a viris doctisquaeri nimissollicite, an Hip- 
pocrates queedam dixerit, quae circulationem sanguinis nobis ipsam ab aliis 
edoctis redolere possint; quanivis ne hoc quidem verum sit : sed, an aliquod 
ejus rei argumentum sit abHippocrate allatum,quoaliiad suscipiendam cir- 
culations prius ignoratse fidem permotos esse se profiteantur ; id vero nemo 
est mortalium qui unquam fuerit professus. Nam, quod aliqui hodie, re tota 
nempe per alios demonstrata, dicunt Hippocratem clare tradidisse valvularum 
cordis artificium atque usum, nihil juvat: quam enim multi fuere, qui 


earum artificium atque usum, ab Hippocrate trad i turn, melius ipso 
tradiderinf? Omnes profecto post Hippocratem Anatoraici et Medici; 
quibus tamen adeo erat ignota circulatio sanguinis vera, ut eorum aliqui, 
quibus noti fuerant Columbus, Caesalpinus, Servetus, aliique, lectique 
ipsorum libri, adversus illud eorum dogma libros conscripserint. Concludo 
denique, usum valvularum cordis verum Hippocrati fuisse ignotum. 
Patct hoc ex ejus libello De Corde, ubi haec habet de dextro ventriculo 
ejusque vase: 'aperitur quidem in pulmones, ut iis sanguinem ad 
alimentum praebeat : in cor autem clauditur, non confertim tamen : quo aer 
quidem ingrediatur, ncque tamen admodum multus.' Unde patet, usum 
valvularum Hippocrati eum fuisse, ut tantum sanguinis non redituri posset 
etrredi, quantum pulmoni alendo sufficeret,* dum per easdem vias ingre- 
deretur ex pulmone aer, quae a circulatione sanguinis vera, et a vera 
ratione respirationis sunt alienissima nimisque abhorrentia." 

In a preceding p. 92, he had thus expressed him, not less 
strongly against any claim of Hippocrates. 

" Ex quibus concludo, ubi quaeritur an Hippocrati cognitus fuerit san- 
guinis circuitus, (in qua quaestione auctoritas Hippocratis spectatur tan- 
quam, nulla nulliusve utilitatis, cum nemo circuitum ei notum dicat; ideo, 
quia fuerit infinitae vir peritiae) licere ejus dicta, non minus quam imperiti 
cujusvis, ita explicare, ut falsa et absurda sint, neque in hac quaestione 
auctoritatem ejus debere adduci, ut quae absurda et circuitui sanguinis ad- 
versantia protulit, molliori interpretatione diluantur. Hie etiam infero, in 
secundo casu, nempe, cum auctoritas inventoris non ingreditur conditiones 
problematis, (Pitcairn, like Dr. Mead, a mathematical physician, alludes to 
certain problems and theorems, previously laid down, and on which he 
founds his demonstrations) theoremata duo esse necessario vera : nam, 
quoniam eo in casu auctoritas ilia est nulla, non debet assumi inventor, 
sive philosophus sive medicus, ejus esse ingenii, ut plu'ra intellexerit quam 
quae disertissimis verbis tradidit: unde fluit primum theorema . neque 
ejus peritiae, ut non et falsa atque absurda potuerit proponere, et saepe pro- 
posuerit: unde fluit theorema secundum." 

Much as we may perhaps smile at an attempt to demonstrate 
who is or is not the author of the discovery, by theorems and 
problems ; it will be found here treated of in a very ingenious 
manner, by the most celebrated of the physico-mathematical 
sect ; thus he proceeds. 

" Ut quae jam dicta sunt, facilius intelligantur, adverti velim quo pacto 
ea ad quaestionem de inventore circuitus sanguinis solvendam applicari pos- 

* This idea was equally entertained by Harvey. 


sint. Quaestio in eo versatur, ut inveniamus, an Hippocrati cognitus fuerit 
sanguinis circuitus. Vocem autem circuitus eodem modo ab Hippocrate 
usurpatum, quo ab aliis multo recentioribus, liquido debet constare, ita ut 
invenienda sit in Hippocrate descriptio hujus circuitus, satis clara et dis- 
tincta.' 1 '' " Ego vero affirmo, circuitum sanguinis nunquam diserte ab 
Hippocrate describi, nihilque in ejus Scriptis contineri, quod suadeat motum 
ilium ei cognitum fuisse; sed tantura, cognosci ab eo potuisse: nam, quam- 
vis nuspiam circuitus sanguinis perpetui meminerit, ea tamen ssepissime com- 
memorat, ex quibus deduci potest iste circuitus, quern quidem nunquam 
exinde colligit, licet inventum sit longe majoris momenti, quam sunt ea 
omnia, quae ex sibi notis intulit et prolixe inculcavit Hippocrates." 

Adverse as he is to Hippocrates' claim, he yet seems here to 
strengthen it, but again proceeds to demolish it, on his principles ; 
or at least some of those particular points, on which a claim has 
been set up for Hippocrates of a knowledge of the circulation ; 
and then continues to uphold the claim for Harvey. At p. 94, 

" Deinde advertatur, Hippocratem de motu sanguinis nunquam aliter 
loqui, quam locuti sunt postea alii, quos manifestum est, circuitum perpetuum 
non agnovisse, quorumque aliqui etiam ab Harvaeo declaratum et demon- 
stratum negarunt. Legat qui volet Scriptores medicos Harvaeo aetate supe- 
riores, et aliquos etiam aequales, comperiet profecto verissimum esse quod 
assero; piget quippe eorum sententias exscribere. Haec cum ita se ha- 
beant, licebet concludere, circuitum sanguinis verum fuisse Hippocrati 

In thus acknowledging that a circulation, although not the 
true and perpetual one, as declared and demonstrated by Harvey, 
was really advocated and upheld before him, the dispute seems 
to be greatly circumscribed : and if it is found, that Harvey 
has not fully illustrated it ; nay, that even now, this circuitus 
verus is not absolutely determined and settled beyond dis- 
pute, to the satisfaction of every one, wherein can it be affirmed 
that Harvey has the supreme claim to perfection beyond his 
predecessors ! Much more, however, and in parts, perhaps, 
stronger than above, does Pitcairn advance, in opposition to 
Hippocrates, and in full credence of the rights of Harvey. And 
this is all as it ought to be, in this excellent vindicator, whose 
motives and strength of argument are fully appreciated by me. 
Not acquiescing however in all his views ; I shall now quote him 
in one further extract, to prove the generally received idea of a 


circulation : for, if not accurately comprehended, its necessity in 
the system, most unquestionably was uniformly felt and adopted. 
At p. 99, then, we find him thus speaking. 

" Nemo unquam fuit medicorum, quamvis circulationi verx adversantium, 
qui non aliquem motum sanguini tribuerit ; sed, per eadem semper vasa, 
Euripi in morem: quare hi idem dicere et possunt et solent, quod hie ab 
Hippocrate dicitur. Hujus enim verba motum sanguini concedunt, at, nullo 
modo circularem, cum flumina non redeant in orbem ad fontes suos, veluti 
sanguis hodie redire statuitur per alveos continuos atque continentes : mi- 
rumque est, tot eruditos viros, ubicunque vident Hippocratem motui san- 
guinis ascribere periodum, credidisse ex eo patere, Hippocrati notum, et ea 
voce declaratum fuisse sanguinis varum circuitum,- cum ea vox illi (ut et 
Geometris Philosophisque saepius) denotet solam in iisdem vasis, per stata 
tempora (ut hie locus te'statur) in partes, nunc has, nunc hisce contrarias, 
fluctuationem, quae tamen aliquando majori sanguinis copia et celerius, ali- 
quando minori et tardius absolvitur." 

In thus attempting to show, and indeed proving, we may say, 
that physicians all agreed (nemo unquam medicorum) in ad- 
mitting " aliquem motum sanguinis," he is probably correct in his 
object, which is to prove that the Harveian circulation was 
unknown to Hippocrates: and yet his quotations from the 
writings of that great man very strongly corroborate an impor- 
tant extent of view, as to its character and existence. Thus, 
from the treatise " De alimento," Pitcairn quotes the following, 
" venarum radix hepar est : arteriarum radix est Cor. Ex his 
per omnia sanguis et spiritus pervagatur, calorque per ea per- 
meat." And could such expressions mean ought, or any thing- 
if not implying all that is now implied or understood by the 
Harveian route 1 Is not the blood distinctly characterized as 
flowing to every part, by this vascular apparatus, and the heat 
also ; and is much more now implied, than was fully appreciated 
by Hippocrates ; although not speaking exactly in similar terms ; 
or denoting that particular route, which was more correctly laid 
down by Harvey, but without completing it ? can this alone con- 
fer the exalted privilege awarded him 1 and shall not an iota of 
credit be allotted to others ! Well may these neglected wor- 
thies, when viewing their birthright and blessing surreptitiously 
bestowed on a younger brother, like Esau to Isaac, exclaim, 



" Hast thou but one blessing, O my father !" Can we draw no 
probability of an individual view of a particular subject, except it 
be clothed in one peculiar form of speech ! Can the following 
extract by Pitcairn from Hippocrates "De Corde," admit of 
reasonable doubt as to a full conviction of a circulation, and that 
■perpetual ; although the precise route was then, and is yet, not con- 
clusively settled! "Hi sunt humanse naturae fontes; hinc flumina 
excurrunt, quibus corporis alveus irrigatur." Surely the above, 
and others -that might be adduced, might well establish a prior 
claim to the doctrine of a circulation, without being weakened in 
its fair construction, by that which follows from Pitcairn; viz., that 
both the above extracts, compared together, show that Hippo- 
crates " eadem modo ex hepate, quo ex corde, credidisse motum 
celebrari fluidi versus extimas partes corporis per eadem vasa 
redeuntis." This position is, I think, unfairly assumed by Pitcairn ; 
it is, however, one that has been so long repeated, as to be fully 
adopted ;— it amounts apparently to the opinion ascribed to Galen, 
of the analogy of the flux and reflux of Euripus ;— and which I 
have already attempted to weaken ; whether successfully, must be 
determined by others. I must, however, dissent from this especial 
part ; for if even indirectly, such a stand might be assumed, I 
cannot think the construction is a natural one, nor the com- 
parison of the two passages, by any means establishing that, thus 
gratuitously adopted by Pitcairn. Moreover, I think the diffi- 
culty by no means lessened, if we take Hippocrates, in his 
different writings, to be his own best commentator ; even here, 
too, we might arrive at different conclusions, from the same 
original, or by consulting different translators : for they do not 
always agree ; and error consequently creeps in, on the one side 
or the other. I must be permitted to illustrate this, by one 
instance that occurs to me. It is in Lib. 2. de Marbis Mulierum, 
p. 638. Foesii. Ed. 1624. Frankf., wherein the Greek word 
tfixueus, which is uniformly by others rendered cucurbitula, cucur- 
bita or cups, is by a French Editor translated " sangsues" or 
leeches, which were not at that period employed- in medicine. 
We might likewise, did time admit, adduce many parts, which 
insulated, speak loudly of a circulation; we shall state but one, 
from the book above mentioned by Pitcairn, De Ahmento; 



" Alimentum in pilos, et in ungues, et in extimam superficiem ab 
internis partibus pervenit." It must be a thorough partisan, who 
can see in this, a mere flux and reflux of the blood ! Can we 
possibly imagine the sagacious mind of Hippocrates to have 
exercised itself on these, and other points of nutrition, without 
admitting him to have had more than an imperfect view of the 
circulation ; when we find him affirming that the very hair and 
nails of superficial parts are nourished from the interior ! Surely 
it is too much to ascribe to the circulation, as the principal value 
of its discovery, the mere knowledge of its route, if we should 
even admit this to have been the work of Harvey alone ! and 
forget that the most important part, in the whole, is altogether 
unsettled and unknown ! His assertion that the blood reaches 
the veins from the arteries is true : had not Galen equally shown 
it? but which is correct, the anastomoses of Galen, or the 
porosities of Harvey 1 The world is yet divided between them ; 
and the discovery of the circulation is not yet complete ! 

We proceed at length to the 6th Chapter of Harvey, headed 
as follows, "By which ways the blood is carried out of the Vena 
Cava, into the Arteries, or out of the right ventricle of the heart 
into the left." 

The different chapters so nearly involve repetitions, and that 
repeatedly, from all pointing to one object, the route, or passage 
of the blood, that it is impossible to avoid the same, in consider- 
ing them successively. We have already had occasion to notice 
the pulmonary route : and here, again, whilst we could wish to 
spare the reader, we find it necessary to advert to it; and pro- 
bably may still further trespass on his patience. 

In this chapter are to be found assertions, correct in some re- 
spects, but which are in a measure opposed to the very point 
they are intended to sustain. It is very generally known that 
objections of no trifling nature have been thrown out by many, 
but especially by Vesalius, as to Galen's anatomical attainments; 
and assertions made, that he was acquainted only, or chiefly, 
with the anatomy of animals, and not of man. Admitting this 
in its fullest extent, let us see what it would lead to, conformably 
to the declarations of Harvey, as it regards Galen's knowledge of 


the "connexion of the heart with the lungs;" and whether he 
ought not really to have comprehended accurately wherein that 
connexion consisted; and consequently have some idea of the 
nature and existence of the pulmonary circuit. Speaking in p. 
35, of those, who, " Whilst they desire to give their verdict, to 
demonstrate, and understand all parts of living creatures, look 
but into man only, and into him, being dead too, and so do no 
more to the purpose than those, who go about to frame universal 
arguments from particular propositions;" "were they but as 
well practised in the dissection of creatures, as they are in the 
anatomy of men's carcasses, this business, which keeps them all 
in doubt and perplexity, would, in my opinion, seem clear with- 
out all difficulty." 

The dissection of brutes, then, it appears from Harvey, would 
settle this business (the connexion of the heart and lungs), better 
than that of man : if so, and if, according to Vesalius, Galen dis- 
sected animals alone; he was the very man to clear up this dif- 
ficulty, and detect and discover the pulmonary passage! It 
may not be improper here, however, to render it probable, that 
Galen was an extensive dissector of the human body, as well as 
of brutes : and the first step in this proof, is that of lessening the 
credit of his accuser, even of Vesalius ; as must be the case, if 
the following unexceptionable and diversified testimony is to be 
relied on: and, whilst hearing both sides, strike a balance be- 
tween them. C. N. Jenty, in the historical compendium prefixed 
to his anatomical lectures, printed in 3 vols. Lond. 1757, thus 
speaks on the subject, after stating that he (Vesalius) was born 
at Brussels in 1514, and, that at the time Vesalius appeared, 
anatomists were so much blindfolded with the authority of 
Galen, that to have contradicted him had been looked upon as 
heresy : that Vesalius ventured to expose the mistakes, and cor- 
rect the errors of Galen, both in physic and anatomy: which led 
to the censures of some distinguished authors, who charged him 
" with ignorance, want of honour, vain-glory, and plagiarism." 
Such is what I am now to present to the reader's notice. Jenty 
gives at p. xciv. an extract, translated from Piccolhominus, 
whom I shall again refer to; but, as I have the original, and it 
is much more definite in the charge, I shall prefer it here. See 


his " Praelect. Anatomicas," JLect. 3d. p. 207. fol. Rom. 1586. In 
this chapter, speaking of the fetal heart, he claims for Galen the 
discovery of certain parts ; and refers in proof to the 6th book, 
de usu partium, cap. 20, 21, and also to the 6th ch. of 15th book, 
which, says he, Vesalius "in magno illo de re anatomica volu- 
mine," has not mentioned ; and he thus continues — 

" Qua ab eo praetermissa, duo perspicue indicantur ; alteram, se infceiubus 
dissecandi segnem et ignarumfuisse, cum hanc nequeinvenerit, neque prodide- 
rit; alteram, se Ubrosillos Galeni quos modo commemoravi, nunquam legisse. 
Nee minus mirarisubit Fallopium, qui passim Vesalium divinum appellat. 
An divinitatis nomen merueritquod rei anatomicae, omniumque corporis hu- 
mani partium, fuerit inventor primus et observator ? Si mihi aliquandoper 
otium licebit, luculenter commenstrabo, quxcumque bona scribuntur a 
Vesalio in illo volumine, omnia ex Hippocrate, Aristotele, Galeno, aliisque 
antiquioribus esse transcripta, horum virorum, nulla prosus facta mentione: 
Qusecunque verd falsa, ab eodem scribuntur, quxquam plurima sunt, ex 
suo furibundo marte prodidisse." And soon after — " Ex duobus itaque 
illis Galeni libris, et locis, in quibus admonet, borum vasorum coitionem in 
foetu, nonnulla, veluti problemata eruam, quo res obscurissima, tractatur 
dilucide et maxime perspicue." 

These are serious charges, we must admit, yet they do not 
rest on Piccolhomini's assertions alone. What follows, as I 
have not the originals, I extract therefore from Jenty, who 
thus proceeds — " The censure of Caius upon Vesalius, is still 
more remarkable. ' We both lodged,' says he, ' in the same 
quarters at Padua, at the time when Vesalius wrote and prepared 
his book De Corporis Humani fabrica. One Aldinus Junta, a 
Venetian printer, employed him to correct the anatomical works 
of Galen, both Greek arid Latin; and, for that purpose, several 
emendations were sent him: but he rendered Galen's text more 
corrupt than it was before, with no other view than that he 
might have somewhat to find fault with.'— "And though Fallo- 
pius owns him to be the father of anatomy, yet he carps at his 
opinion almost everywhere. Columbus talks thus of him : « I 
cannot but be surprised that he, who on all occasions, lashes 
and chastises Galen for his having described apes and brutes, 
instead of men; should yet, himself, be so ridiculous, as to de- 
scribe the larynx, tongue, and eyes of oxen, and not of men; 
without so much as ever giving a caution with regard to it. 



He also ascribed muscles to the epiglottis, which are only found 
in brutes.' Eustachius has also observed of him, that ' he de- 
scribed and delineated a dog's kidney, instead of a man's.' 
" Arantius styles him the common master of anatomists, but 
accuses him of having delineated the pudenda of brutes, on 
account of the scarcity of the bodies of women; whereby it 
happened that Valverda, and those who immediately followed 
him, taking things upon trust, split upon the same rock." 
" Johannes Baptista Carcan. Leon, speaks of him thus : ' It is 
surprising that Vesalius, whilst he accuses Galen, the chief of 
physicians and anatomists, of so many blunders and errors, 
should yet himself, be so justly liable to censure in the same re- 
spect: and, what is still worse, by these his accusations, he seems 
widely to have mistaken Galen's meaning; ascribing to him 
things he never so much as dreamed of; and affirming, that he 
denied those very things that he insisted on in the most distinct 
and explicit manner : and whilst he so often wonders at, and 
finds fault with Galen; he himself deserves to be wondered at, 
and found fault with.' " 

These are, I repeat, heavy charges against Vesalius, both as 
to integrity and information ; yet, if correct, it is right they 
should be fully known: and, as they were nearly coeval with 
him, anVadduced by men of high repute; we can have no 
reasonable cause for doubting them. My object, in quoting these 
remarks against him, has been to show, how grossly he has acted 
towards Galen; and thereby to render it probable, that Galen's 
dissections were by no means confined to brutes, as so com- 
monly insisted on, though powerfully resisted by Riolan; but 
that also, if even admitted, the fact should prove him, agreeably 
to Harvey's rules above-mentioned, to be the more qualified to 
investigate the subject treated of in the chapter under consider- 
ation. , 

That Galen was a bold and enterprising surgeon, can scarcely 
admit of a doubt, and whether he attained that profound skill 
which he seems to have reached, by mere dissection of brutes; 
will probably be judged of differently, according to the opinion of 
the reader, as to the importance he may attach to anatomy as 
the ground-work of surgery. In endeavouring to vindicate him 


from the obloquy of Vesalius and others, 1 need not apologize to 
the reader; for if he knows but the tithe of Galen's attainments, 
I am sure he will be gratified by the removal of one stigma that 
has thus been attached to his memory. And it is perhaps sin- 
gular in the annals of our profession, to find two cases, very 
closely allied in some particulars, though very different in others; 
and probably the only ones of the kind recorded, if not solitary 
in existence, reported in detail by Galen and Harvey at an inter- 
val of probably fourteen centuries! The difference between 
them consists in this; that of Galen's was the product, if we 
may so say, of his unrivalled anatomical and surgical skill ; that 
related by Harvey, was the effect of disease, and is to be re- 
garded solely as his report ; yet, from its analogy, we may well 
be surprised, that Harvey has not even referred to the more 
extraordinary case of his great predecessor! I quote Galen 
first, as having the priority of time ; and indeed Harvey's is of no 
importance in the actual object I have of vindicating Galen as 
an anatomist. The intent of each, in his report, is, moreover, 
different in most respects. Galen's case to which I refer, is men- 
tioned in more than one part of his writings ; but more particu- 
larly in the 7th book of his work, " de Anatomicis administra- 
tionibus," and the whole book will be found more or le^ss con- 
nected with the subject of the circulation, and it will prepare the 
way, for the case adverted to, to cursorily notice its contents. 
In this 7th book, then, Galen treats of the heart, lungs, and 
arteries, as seen both in the dead and living. He makes the 
lungs, the heart and thorax the principal organs of breath, 
(spiritus,) and notices the two-fold kind of artery, viz., that arising 
from the left ventricle, spreading through the body, and beating 
in unison with the heart: the other, the arteria aspera or wind- 
pipe. This is followed up with an account of the pleura and 
pericardium, of the heart and arteries, with some notice of the 
different opinions respecting the vessels of the lungs, of the 
pulse in the heart and the arteries in every part of the body 
which arise from the aorta ; also the non-pulsation, or at least 
the non-perception of it, in the lungs ; he remarks in relation to 
these pulmonary vessels, 


" Verum inde, quod sinistro ventriculo sint continux, conjccturam aliquis 
fecerit : et si quidam non conjecluram solum, vel probabilem spem, sed 
certam functionis ipsarum scientiam habere arbitrantur." 

This we consider highly interesting, unless mistaken in its 
import, viz., that it had been conjectured that these vessels were 
continued into the left ventricle; a conjecture not merely proba- 
ble, but certain, judging from our knowledge of their functions : 
and this is subsequently still further urged. We moreover find 
him, in explaining some of the differences between an artery and 
a vein, thus speaking : 

" Quales igitur toto corpore existant arteriae, tale vas ex dextro cordis 
sinu procedens, in totum pulmonem ramorum serie diffunditur. Quales 
autem venae, tale ex sinistro : ut ex tribus vasis pulmonem intertexentibus, 
quod a sinistro cordis ventriculo proficiscitur, arteria venosa nuncupetur, 
quod a dextro, arteriosa vena" &c. 

He now, in the 13th chapter of this book, comes to the case 
we have in view : and of which we shall give but the outline — 
sufficient, however, to enable every one to form an estimate of 
both his anatomical and surgical attainments. It will moreover 
be well to recollect, that as Galen had no precedent to direct his 
judgment; so neither has there been any other similar case re- 
corded: even that of Richerand is not to be compared with it. 
It stands isolated in the records, as he himself does, in the 
myriads of our profession !* The son of an actor, he tells us, in 
some gymnastic sport received a blow on the sternum. It was at 
first neglected, and was supposed to have got well. About four 
months after, suppuration appeared, the part was incised to 
discharge the matter, and it quickly cicatrized : inflammation 
again ensued, and suppuration. The part, again divided, could 
not be healed up. A consultation took place, to which Galen 
was invited; when the sphacelated appearance of the part, and 
the diseased bone became obvious; and even the pulsation of 
the heart was apparent. No one dared to remove this diseased 
bone; and, at length, Galen, without however promising a cure, 
undertook to remove it, uncertain of the state of the parts be- 

* Richcrand's Excision of the Ribs, &c, by no means equals the case of Galen. 
See " Histoire d'un resection des Cotes et de la Pleure. Paris, 1818. 


neatli. He accordingly cut away the affected bone ; together 
with the vertex of the pericardium, which was in a state of 
putrefaction; thus leaving the heart entirely bare. It is sufficient 
to remark, that the person perfectly recovered in a short time ; 
which, says Galen, could never have happened, if no one had 
been bold enough to cut away the bone, and which no one 
would have attempted, unless well instructed in anatomy; ("nisi 
in administrationibus anatomicis prce-exercitatus") I cannot but 
add, moreover, that in this chapter Galen evidently evinces his 
knowledge of, and actually employed ligatures, to stop haemor- 
rhage. But let me ask, whether the mere dissectors of brutes 
would have performed, and that successfully, the operation I 
have above noted ?* Let us now, however, proceed to the 
case detailed by Harvey, in his 52d Exercitation of the Ti eatise 
" de Generations" The son of Viscount Montgomery of Ire- 
land, he informs us, had a severe fall when young, whereby the 
ribs of the left side were fractured. An abscess formed, and 
discharged much matter, which trickled constantly from a large 
cavity. About the age of eighteen or nineteen, he travelled 
through France and Italy, and finally returned to London, the 
immense opening in the breast still remaining, so that the lungs 
could be seen and touched, [adeo, ut pulmones (uti creditum est) 

* Under the article Anatomistes, vol. I. p. 223 of the Biography of the Diet, des 
Scien. Medic, when speaking of Galen, the editor says, " That as to the physician 
of Pergamos, it has been maintained that he opened human bodies : without denying 
the fact, we shall only observe, that whenever he enters upon anatomical details, 
it is from among animals that he derives them. In fact he dissected a great num- 
ber of animals, many of whom were very similar to man, particularly monkeys 
without tails. This is a truth which Vesalius had, before, placed beyond doubt, 
when the learned and fine researches of Camper came to confirm it, and proved 
that Galen dissected orang outangs." All this may be true ; and yet no one has, I 
think, decisively shown, that his dissections did not reach to man I If thus limited, 
of what use can it be to the surgeon ; since we find one of the most brilliant 
operations on record, performed by a man ignorant of the parts to be cut ! The 
very fault which Galen finds with many of his own contemporaries. It is, at all 
events, placing us between the horns of a dilemma ; which, incapable of being 
extricated from, by direct and positive proof; must be settled by evidence of a 
circumstantial nature ; which, all things considered, arc favourable to the idea of 
the dissecting of both, whatever Vesalius may affirm to the contrary; and, remem- 
bering his own disingenuity of composing his descriptions of man, from that of 
animals, he ought to have been guarded in throwing a stone ! 


in eo cernere, ac tangere liceret.J This miracle being stated to 
King Charles, he sent Harvey to inquire into it. He tells us he 
found the young man " vegetum, et aspectu quoque, habituque 
corporis laudabili prseditum;" and acquainted him with the 
king's commission ; on which every thing was exhibited, and 
the pledget being removed, which was used to guard the part 
from injury ; he says he perceived a large cavity, into which he 
could readily thrust his three first fingers and thumb: a species of 
fleshy protuberance being extruded and drawn back by turns, 
which he was able cautiously to handle. Astonished, and re- 
peatedly examining every part, he concluded, that an old and 
ample ulcer had by nature been healed ; but that the part he and 
others had regarded as a mere fleshy protuberance, or a part of 
the lungs; was really the extremity of the heart (cordis conum), 
surrounded by a fungous excrescence ; this was daily cleansed, 
and a covering supplied, and he appeared to enjoy both health 
and exercise. He carried the youth to the king, that he might 
also inspect so great a wonder : and it seems that the heart was 
touched by both, without any sensation experienced by him, 
or knowing this to be the case, unless he looked. From all 
which, Harvey concludes that viscus to be devoid of feeling. 

To recur to the chapter we are considering; Harvey 
proceeds to notice the single, character of the heart in fish, (" as 
having no lungs,") as clearly showing his proposition : and he 
adds that " you may likewise see the same afterward easily in 
all other creatures, in which there is but one ventricle only, or 
something answerable to it, as in the toad, frog, serpents, 
house-snails, which, although they are said in some manner to 
have lungs, because they have a voice," &c. Here we 
perceive, that Harvey's impression was, that the lungs are 
principally intended to supply a passage for the blood '" by the 
pulsation of the heart ; which is thus " brought out of the veins 
into the arteries, the way of it open, patent, manifest, no 
occasion of doubt or difficulty at all." If correct in my idea, 
that this is the principal view of Harvey in his explanation of 
this important organ and its functions ; I must continue to think 
that his conceptions were not sufficiently enlarged ! That 
animals without lungs had no voice, was familiar to Aristotle 



and Galen — [but whether house-snails, as Harvey asserts, have 
a voice, is a doubtful proposition. I mention this, the rather 
because the translator has rendered the word, house-snail, from 
the Latin, lacerta, which it will not, certainly, very readily bear; 
but it is an additional proof of what I before have mentioned, of 
the difficulty of really comprehending an author, owing to defec- 
tive translations !] Be all this as it may, the important end of 
the function of respiration being that of the regular and continued 
arterialization of the venous blood circulating through the 
lungs ; the voice follows secondarily, by the anatomical 
structure of the parts, and their action : now, as voice is not 
essential to life, it is merely superadded to the other important 
donations of our Creator, to the higher orders of animated 
nature; but since the process of arterialization is absolutely 
essential to life, so, even in those inferior animals, who have 
no lungs, and but a single heart, some correspondent organi- 
zation effects the purpose. That I am not incorrect, in thus 
supposing Harvey's ideas too limited, as to this great function 
of the animal economy, is, I think, demonstrated by his 
subsequent remark, that, "seeing there are more creatures, 
which have no lungs, than there are which have ; and more 
which have but one ventricle, than there are which have two, 
we may very well aver for the most part, and almost in all, 
that the blood is transfused out of the veins into the arteries, 
through the bosom of the heart by an open passage." This is 
a broad position, and might afford room to much remark ; I 
shall, however, merely suggest, that the difficulty of the 
circulation is connected with the mode of conjunction of the 
extreme branches of the two systems of vessels. It is apparent 
how it gets from the large and patent mouths of the venas 
cavae into the heart ; and from thence into the pulmonary 
artery : this is " patent, manifest, and no occasion of doubt or 
difficulty." But here the quo modo is at a stand, or, at least, 
the intercommunication from hence to the pulmonary veins, 
may be regarded as having a triple party, viz.: those who, 
with Harvey, contend for the parenchymatous porosities ; those 
who consider the anastomoses of Galen adequate; and those 
who think, that both united are scarcely adequate to explain 


the circulation, and its accompanying phenomena of nutrition, 
&c. Can that, then, however plausible and reasonable, and 
admissible by circumstantial evidence alone, be regarded as 
discovered; and that, too, by one man alone, when the very 
point at issue is absolutely unsettled and undetermined! We 
might as well affirm the absolute discovery of the longitude ; 
because we know its existence as a matter of fact, and act upon 
it accordingly ; navigating in every direction under rules 
deduced from uncertain premises, but not less useful to the 
interests of mankind; but where is the man to whom the 
award has been made of its actual discovery? And, supposing 
Harvey now arraigned before the present generation of 
physicians, with all the well known facts, from Galen down- 
wards, satisfactorily demonstrated to them : acknowledging 
the estimated conviction of the ancients as to a circulation, 
yet equally assured of its not being exactly that of present 
times ; but noticing their practical information as to the pulse 
and blood-letting ; with other particulars that will present to the 
reflection of the reader! Suppose all this, 1 repeat — and let 
each individual, as if on oath, declare, whether he would vote in 
favour of the full and undivided claim of Harvey ? — It is much 
to be doubted ! Receiving the impression of his rights in the 
earliest dawn of our reading, &c, we adhere to it as fact in after 
life ; as we do to our religious and sectarian principles, without 
any particular reflection on, or examination of their truth ! Is 
this not correctly stated? and can we believe that Harvey 
actually comprehended the vast importance, and real character 
of the circulation, either of the pulmonary or the larger 
division, when we find him, (as we presently shall,) affirming 
that " the left ventricle was made for the lungs' sake."* 

* I have left this as I first wrote it, that I might do justice to this excellent man. 
After some reflection, I was so amazed at the apparent error of Harvey, with all 
his acumen ; that I thought it proper to consult his original Latin. And I again 
call upon the profession to pause, when making second hand extracts without refer- 
ing to the original. Certainly, the intention, on my part, was to draw deductions 
unfavourable to Harvey's claim, as may be seen; but it is not requisite to go 
beyond the limits of truth to do this, as I shall show when I come to this very 
place in the 7th chapter ; and I am not altogether sorry that this circumstance 



In continuance of the subject, Harvey adverts to the hearts 
of " embryons," and here again, in justice to him, I must recur 
to the inaccuracy of his translator, " consideravi (says Harvey) 
autem mecum, quod etiam in embryonum eorum qua pulmones 
habent," &c. p. 61. " But, (says his translator, p. 37,) I 
conceived with myself that it is plainly seen too in those 
embryons which have hearts." Surely it is requisite to inquire 
into the accuracy of all our translations, from the Greek, to the 
Latin, or French ; and from these last to the English, to know 
precisely what we are about ! It is more with a view to these 
remarks that I have adverted to this part of Harvey's writings ; 
although I could wish, that the statement he gives was accurately 
analyzed by some distinguished anatomist ; for I cannot, myself, 
think him correct. In order to facilitate this, I here give, in 
separate columns, a portion both of his own words, and the 

"Consideravi aulem mecum, quod eti- 
am in embryonum eorum qua? pulmones 
habent, sectione apertissimc constat, in 
fcetu vasa cordis quatuor (viz. venam 
cavam, vcnam arteriosam, arteriam ve- 
nalem, et aortam sive arteriam magnam) 
alio modo uniri, quam in adulto, id quod 
omnes Anatomici norunt satis. 

■"Primus contactus et unio Vense 
Cava? cum arteria venosa (quae fit prius 
quam cava in dextrum ventriculum 
cordis se aperit, aut venam coronalem 
emittit, paululum supra egrcssum ab 

"But I conceived with myself, that it 
is plainly seen too in those embryons 
which have hearts. In a birth, there 
are four vessels of the heart, the vena 
cava, the vena arteriosa, arteria venalis, 
and the aorta, or arteria magna; and 
are otherwise united than in one come 
to age, which all anatomists know well 

The first touch and union of the 
vena ca\'a with the arteria venosa, 
which comes to pass before the vena 
cava opens itself into the right ventricle 

has presented itself, as I mention, as a caution to all who are really desirous of 
correctness in their researches. 1 present the reader with Harvey's original, and 
with the translation from the edition which I have adverted to; the work of an 
ardent (but careless) friend ! 

" Natura tamen cum voluerit sanguinem ipsam per pulmones transcolari, dex- 
trum ventriculum superaddere coacta fucrit, cujus pulsu, per ipsos pulmones, e 
vena cava in sinistri ventriculi locum, sanguis compelleretur. Et hoc modo, 
dextrum ventriculum pulmonum causa factum esse et ob translationcm sanguinis, 
non ob nutritionem duntaxat, dicendum est." Ed. Glasg. \2rrto. 1751. p. 80. 

•' Yet nature desiring that the blood should be strained through the lungs, was 
forced to add the right ventricle, by whose pulse the blood should be forced through 
the very lungs, out of the vena cava into the receptacle of the left ventricle : and 
so it is to be said that the left ventricle was made for the lungs' sake, and not for 
nutrition only." Lond. 12mo. Ed. 1673, printed for Richard Lowndes, p. 48. 



hepate) anastomosin latcralem exhibet, 
hoc est, foramen amplum patens, ovali 
figura, pertusum e cava in arteriam 
illam perviuin, ita ut per illud foramen 
tanquam per unum vas sanguis e vena 
cava in arteriam venosam et auriculam 
cordis sinistram, usque in ventri- 
culum sinistrum liberrime et copiosis- 
sime dimanare possit. Insuper in illo 
foramine ovali e regionc, quae arteriam 
venosam respicit, operculi instar mem- 
brana tenuis dura est, foramine major, 
quae postea in adultis, operiens hoc 
foramen et coalescens undique istud 
foramen omnino obstruit et prope ob- 
literat. Haac, inquam, membrana sic 
constituta est, ut, dum laxe in se concidit, 
facile ad pulmones et cor via resupinetur, 
et sanguine a Cava affluenti cedat 
quidem, at ne rursus in cavam refluat, 
impediat; ut liceat existimare in em- 
bryone sanguinem continuo debere per 
hoc foramen transire e vena cava in 
arteriam venosam, et inde in auriculam 
sinistram cordis ; at postquam in- 
gressus fuerit, remeare nunquam posse." 
p. 61. 

of the heart, or sends out the coronal 

vein, a little above its outgoing from the 
liver, displays unto us its orifice, side- 
ways, that is to say, a hole, wide and 
large, of an oval figure, made through 
passageable, from the vena cava into 
that arterie ; insomuch as through that 
hole the blood may freely and abundantly 
pass out of the vena cava, into the 
arteria venosa, and the left ear of the 
heart, and so to the left ventricle. 
There is, moreover, against that place 
which looks towards the arteria venosa, 
a membrane thin and hard, like a cover, 
which afterwards, in those which grow to 
riper years, covering this hole, and 
growing together every way, does quite 
stop it, and takes away almost all sign 
of it. This membrane,* I say, is so 
ordained, that hanging loosely with its 
own weight, it makes way into the 
lungs and heart, and is turned up, 
giving passage to the blood which flows 
from the vena cava, but hinders it from 
flowing back into the cava again. So 
that from hence we may imagine in an 
embryon, that the blood ought conti- 
nually to pass through this hole into the 
arteria venosa, out of the vena cava, 
and so into the left ear of the heart, and 
after it is entered, that it can never 
return." p. 37. 

If this account be correct, it is at least somewhat ambiguous, 
and that in more than one place. The statement that the coronal 
vein is sent out by the vena cava ! &c. Unquestionably, Harvey, 
according to the very principles of his great discovery, if granted 
to be his, considered the venae cava? to be the great and ultimate 
recipients of the venous branches, not the outlets ; and the above 
noticed error must be set down to indiscretion, or any thing but 
ignorance of the subject It must however be admitted, that 
errors or faults of less magnitude are made the object of severe 
reproof by him, when occurring in others; and, therefore, he 
himself should have been peculiarly cautious of tripping : had it 
not been for this, I should probably have omitted any remark on 
this particular ; and recollected the apostrophe, "Non offendar 
paucis maculis." Other parts of this quotation seem to be 
equally open to criticism, as when speaking of the foramen ovale, 

* This is called septum in a note. 


he says, the " blood of the embryo ought continually to pass 
through this hole, into the arteria venosa out of the vena cava 
and so into the left ear of the heart." ,If I understand him cor- 
rectly, I cannot think he is accurate; but I leave it for the 
determination of others ; merely stating, that, at first, I did sup- 
pose he was giving an imperfect detail of the passage of the 
blood through the ductus arteriosus from the pulmonary artery 
to the aorta : but he has pretty accurately noticed this in the 
next page, wherein he speaks of a third trunk or arterial conduit 
pipe from the vena arteriosa and arteria magna ; and of its sub- 
sequent attenuation and fading away " until it is quite dried up, 
and lost, like the umbilical vein." And from sundry considera- 
tions enumerated by him, he comes to the conclusion, " that in 
an embryon, when the heart contracts itself, the blood must 
always be carried out of the right ventricle into the arteria 
magna by this way." All this seems to have been known to 
Galen ; and unaccompanied by some of the errors or obscurities 
of Harvey's explanation ; which I deem also obvious, from a 
subsequent assertion, in the following page, when explaining the 
necessity of motion in the fcetal heart, &c. he says of the pas- 
sages that they arc " open and free, (as well in men, as also in 
other creatures,) not only to the time of the birth, which anato- 
mists have observed, but likewise many months after ; yea in 
some for many years, if not all their life time, as in the goose 
and very many birds." It is this, he thinks, that led Botallus to 
affirm, " he had found a new passage for the blood, out of the 
vena cava into the left ventricle of the heart :" and he adds, that 
when he himself " first found this in a rat of full growth, he did 
imagine some such thing." 

Upon the whole, it is to be wished, that this chapter should be 
fully investigated, and followed up in detail, by an accurate 
anatomist, either to verify Harvey in his different statements, or 
to rectify him wherein he may have gone astray. He has very 
justly noted that character of the fcetal circulation, by which 
its double heart has the function of a single one, alone ; and that 
" the condition of embryons that have lungs and make no use of 
them, is like to the condition of those creatures that have none at 
all." He then enters into some attempt to explain why nature closes 


these passages, and establishes others afterbirth : rather choosing 
to " have the blood to be squeezed through the strayner of the 
lungs, than through most patent passages, as in other creatures." 
But how he has effected this, a few lines will show ! " Whether 
this be, says he, because that greater and perfecter creatures are 
hotter, and when they come to be of age, their heat is apter to 
be suffocated and to be inflamed, and therefore the blood is 
strayn'd and sent through the lungs that it may be tempered by 
breathing in the air upon it, and freed from overheating and 
suffocation, or some such other thing. But to determine and 
give a reason of this is nothing else but a search for ichat the 
lungs were made," which he has by no means done. He ter- 
minates the chapter, by stating his intention to prove, " that in 
the more perfect animals, and those come to age, as in man, 
the blood may pass from the right ventricle of the heart, by the 
vena arteria, into the lungs, and from thence through the arteria 
venosa into the left ear, and from thence into the left ventricle 
of the heart, and then that it is so." And here we may demand 
if all this was known before him, why has he taken such pains 
to demonstrate it, but without giving credit to any one ? for, 
although he largely quotes from Galen, yet it is pretty evident, 
that it is cited (as his advocate, De Back, says elsewhere,) by the 
venerable man " only as it may further his purpose ;" and that, 
not crediting Servetus or others with the slightest knowledge 
on this part of the subject, he bends Galen to his own ends. 

Chapter 7th. This chapter is thus headed, " That the blood 
does pass from the right ventricle of the heart, through the streyner 
(parenchyma) of the lungs, into the arteria venosa and left 

Harvey sets off in proof of this position, by a singular attempt, 
(although perhaps a legitimate deduction from his premises of 
the pores, &c.) to assimilate the passage of the blood through 
the luno-s, to the way in which " the water passing through the 
substance of the earth, doth procreate rivulets and fountains !" 
Can any of his advocates acquiesce in this similitude? or in 
what immediately follows, when he attempts to compare this 
same passage of the blood to the mode in which " sweat passes 


through the skin, or urine flows through the parenchyma of the 
reins !" If such resemblance cannot be found, we must surely 
admit his views to be imperfect ; although he may, as others had 
previously done, demonstrate, that the blood does somehow get 
from the right to the left side of the heart, through the inter- 
vening lungs : but, hoiv, is the question ; a question that he has 
no more resolved, to the satisfaction of all, nay, not even of 
himself, than his predecessors or his successors in the attempt! 
From all that has been and is yet to be said, it seems clear, that 
the doctrine of porosities, as the intermedium of communication 
of arteries and veins, is that which Harvey principally advo- 
cated ; at the same time it will be found, that he also appears 
occasionally to lean to that of anastomoses, and even to both of 
them. This might at first sight appear extraordinary to the 
reader ; but his darkness will be removed when we come to 
find out, in a future part, that by the distinct avowal of one of 
Harvey's most devoted advocates, that " venerable man (Harvey) 
cites that place (on the subject of anastomoses, from Galen) 
only as it may further his own purposes /" He considered the 
blood then, as passing through, not the vascular, but the paren- 
chymatous structure of the lungs ; and it will scarcely be con- 
tended that the vessels, arterial or venous, constitute the part, to 
which anatomists, either then, or now, gave the term of paren- 
chyma. If, then, this discrepancy, common to Harvey and his 
immediate advocates, and to all their successors to the present 
day, exists; can Harvey be said to have comprehended and ex- 
plained ; much less to have demonstrated beyond all controversy, 
the actual nature of that passage, more correctly than Galen 
and his successors 1 In both cases, it is but circumstantial evi- 
dence of that, which all before him admitted, viz., a Circulation ! 
But, if Galen was wrong in his conclusions, has Harvey abso- 
lutely set us right, in a manner no longer subject to doubt ? If he 
has not, how can he have a better right than others, to appro- 
priate to himself the sole and exclusive discovery of this true 
■passage, when, even now, we remain ignorant of it ! By 
Harvey's own admission, Galen actually maintained such a 
passage from the right to the left side of the heart. Now we 
have already seen the attempt to prove this to be by the septum 


cordis ; which, admitting its incorrectness on the part of Galen, 
yet evinces, nevertheless, his firm persuasion of the necessity of 
a circulation, if not of its absolute existence; since he had before 
shown, that the arteries contained only blood ; that if a single 
artery, even a small one, were cut, the whole blood of the body, 
venous as well as arterial, would be evacuated ; and having 
maintained the anastomoses between the arteries and veins on 
the one hand; nothing further was requisite to render the 
circulation in his hands complete, than to point out, on the other 
side, some way by which the blood, thus brought into the veins, 
should find a passage into the arteries, to renew its course. I 
repeat, that Harvey has attempted, with all his followers, to 
fasten upon Galen the presumed passage by the septum ; and in 
so doing, he confirms Galen's discovery of the circulation, in a 
manner fully as perfect as his own ; that is to say by channels 
or passages not proved, or fully admitted. Both therefore are 
placed on an equality. But, besides this, we have now to 
mention in favour of Galen; that Harvey has absolutely 
admitted that he, Galen, advocated the pulmonary route from the 
right to the left ventricle. I think this is sufficiently clear, and 
request the reader to attend to the proof. 

Harvey seems to wish to strengthen his own views, by calling 
to his aid the authority of Galen, in a quotation (from his sixth 
book, ch. 10. de usu partium) relating to the anastomosis of the 
veins and arteries, and the use he attributes to the valves of the 
heart. Thus feeling, says Harvey, that, " there are some per- 
sons which admit of nothing, unless there be authority alledged 
for it ; (and which in the present instance relates to " this passage 
of the blood through the lungs;") and, adds Harvey, "with 
Columbus, a most skilfull and learned anatomist, believe and 
assert the same from the structure and largeness of the lungs ; 
because that the arteria venosa, and likewise the ventricle are 
always full of blood, which must needs come hither out of the 
veins, by no other path, but through the lungs; as both he 
(Columbus, and why was not Servetus mentioned?) and we, from 
our words before, our own eye sight, and other arguments, 
(which he does not deign to bestow on us,) do believe to be 
clear." p. 44. " Let them (they who admit nothing without 



authority) know, that the very same truth may be proved from 
Galen's own words ; that is to say, not only, that the blood 
may be transfused out of the vena arteriosa into the arteria 
venosa, and thence into the left ventricle of the heart, and after- 
wards transmitted into the arteries ; but also, that this is done 
by a continued pulse of the heart, and motion of the lungs whilst 
we breathe. There are in the orifice of the vena arteriosa, 
three small shuts or doors, made like a 2 or half moon, which 
altogether hinder the blood sent into the vena arteriosa to return 
to the heart, which all know." Surely, after this candid avowal 
by Harvey himself, of a knowledge of this pulmonary passage 
of the blood, not only by Columbus, but likewise by the illustrious 
Galen, 1400 years before ; it may be hoped, that none will here- 
after pretend to claim this part of the circulation for Harvey, 
which he thus indirectly disclaims ! He has partially strength- 
ened some of the arguments, and rendered the fact more indis- 
putable : but it is possible, that some may think his explanation 
of the passage of the blood, in some particulars, to be even less 
correct than that of Galen. 

I must here beg leave to make a remark that may not be 
altogether useless, when reading translations, or even transcripts, 
of the ancient writers. It is, that from the stops in the copy of 
Galen* to which I refer, being in many instances different from 
those given in the extracts by Harvey ; a difference of meaning 
seems sometimes to exist between them. A word is occasionally 
omitted; sometimes one word is placed for another, whose 
meanings might be variously understood ; and at other times, 
words and stops are introduced that are not in the text itself. It 
is possible that this may arise from Harvey's employment of 
some previous edition ; but not very likely, since the eighth, the 
one I advert to, was so near the time at which he wrote. But, 
at any rate, it would have been but right that he should have 
noticed the edition he employed. I have, indeed, the more I 
look into Galen, reason to deplore, that such partial extracts 
have been made by Harvey, when every part of a chapter is 
really so closely linked, and explanatory of each other, as to 

* Eighth ed. Venice, 1609, p. 151 b. 


render it almost criminal in an investigation of this kind, not to 
give the whole complete ! A good English translation by the 
side of the Latin would be one of the highest favours that could 
be bestowed on the profession ; especially if compared with the 
original Greek ! 

To proceed, Harvey continues thus : " Galen expresses the 
use and necessity of those shuts (valves) in the following words." 
Here he gives a long extract from the book and chapter above 
noticed, tending to confirm Galen's opinion of the necessary 
passage of the blood, from the very fact, of the valves of the vena 
arteriosa preventing its retrogression to the heart, after once 
passing those portals — which are more closely shut, as the ne- 
cessity of the case requires ; adding, moreover, [that is Galen,] 
a threefold [pray mark this well!] inconvenience that would 
have followed, had not these valves been provided. And here, 
in the very first of these inconveniences as pointed out by Galen, 
and copied from him by Harvey, we find sufficient evidence 
that he never did nor could believe in the mere flux and reflux 
of the blood in the same vessel, like that of Euripus, as has already 
been noticed. His words are, 

" Nisi valvulae essent ; triplex sequeretur incommodum ; ut sanguis ipse 
frustra longum hoc curriculum subinde emetiatur ; in diastolis quidem pul- 
monis adfluens, et quae in ipso sunt, venas omnes refarciens ; in systolis 
vero, quasi aestus quidam maritimus, instar Euripi, motum identidem, hue 
atque illuc reciprocans, qui haudquaquam sanguini conveniat," &c. 

If I do not entirely misunderstand his meaning, I should abso- 
lutely wonder that any person should have ever associated with 
Galen the ideas of Euripus, as laid to his charge ; probably, to 
divert us from the examination of his claim to a complete idea of 
a circulation; and not merely of having sustained a simple flux 
and reflux in the same vessel. Be this as it may, the second incon- 
venience stated by Galen is, that in the mean time it might 
weaken the benefit of respiration, a point of some importance; 
the third, and that by no means a slight one, is that 

" Retro sanguis in expirationibus remigrasset, nisi opifex noster mem- 
branarum epiphysin fuisset fabricatus," and he concludes that, "communis 
ipsarum omnium (valvularum) est usus, ut materias retro remigrare prohi- 


From all this, we may be led to suppose, that had Galen been 
so fortunate as to have seen the valves of the veins, he would 
naturally and legitimately have ascribed to them the same use 
that he has here ascribed to the valves of the heart. Now, this 
is a very interesting chapter of the works of Galen, evincing his 
skill, both in anatomy and physiology, but which is not now 
my object to discuss ; and I shall content myself with Harvey's 
own commentary on these very parts of Galen's works which he 
has so largely quoted : " It does therefore clearly appear," says 
Harvey, " from the words and places of Galen, a divine man, 
father of physicians, both that the blood doth pass from the vena 
arteriosa into the little branches of the arteria venosa, both by 
reason of the pulse of the heart, and also because of the motion 
of the lungs and thorax." This is all apparently very candid 
and open in Harvey; and it would seem incredible that, with this 
admission on his part, he should take the slightest merit to him- 
self, respecting any part of the pulmonary circulation, save that 
of simply strengthening it ! yet is it not the fact, that this part of 
the circulation is usually attributed to him by the majority of the 
profession, even admitting that he does not, himself, directly lay 
claim to it? Indeed, if here, he appears unequivocally to award 
the palm to Galen; it is not less true, I apprehend, that, indi- 
rectly, it is his object throughout, to claim it as his own. Should 
any one ask, why then has he so very explicitly afforded us the 
above views of Galen ; by which he must strip himself of a part 
of his assumed discovery, when he might with equal ease have 
passed him by, as he has the most of his contemporaries: I reply, 
that one great object of most of those contemporaries, was that 
of awarding to Galen the merit which Harvey so sedulously 
claimed for himself; and he could not well avoid that reference 
to Galen's writings, which were then so commonly in every 
one's possession : although those of his commentators, being far 
less common, might be more readily passed by, as we find was 
really the case, seeing that he has scarcely mentioned one of 
them; so that we can with difficulty refer to them, or to their 
remarks! It would seem, however, from a short paragraph at 
the close of the last quotation I have made from him, that some 
one had probably called his attention to the writings of a man, 


whom he could not well omit to notice, who had apparently 
done that justice to Galen, in so public a manner, as to compel 
him in a measure to do the same: it is however evident, that, as 
it respects the individual alluded to, Harvey has barely noticed 
him; and in such a manner as to leave it questionable of whom 
he speaks, or where to look in relation to the subject he is pur- 
suing. " See also," says he, " the commentary of the most 
learned Hofmannus, upon the 6th book of Galen, de Usu part., 
00= 'which book I saw after I had written these things." Which 
Hoffmann he alludes to, is not stated ; if it was Caspar, as I 
apprehend, who was born several years before Harvey, I shall 
barely remark, that his commentary on Galen's books, de Usu 
partium, according to Vanderlinden, (p. 157 de Scriptis medicis,) 
was printed in 1625, that is, three years before Harvey committed 
his writings to press ; and both were printed at Frankfort. Is 
it possible that Harvey saw this work of Hoffman only after his 
own was written ! Admit it to be so, why has he said nothing 
respecting his observations, or never again noticed him in any 
part of his work ?* I should greatly wish to know what Hoff- 
man has said; and hope the treatise alluded to will not be over- 
looked by those who may possess it. 

The priority of Galen to some other parts of what seems so 
closely and intimately connected with the pulmonary circulation, 
should the friends of Harvey contest the point, appears sufficiently 
evident from his own concession : thus, quoting Galen as above 
mentioned, he adds, that Galen writes " for which cause there 
being four orifices only, two in either ventricle, one takes in, the 
other draws forth," &c. Harvey amplifies this concise state- 
ment as of himself, in nearly the same language, viz., that " for 
this reason it was necessary that it (the heart) should be served 
with four locks or doors, whereof two should serve for the 
intromission, and two for the emission of blood, lest either the 
blood like an Euripus, should be inconveniently driven up and 
down, or go back thither from whence it were fitter to be drawn, 
and flow from that part to which it was needful it should have 

* A letter to C. Hoffman from Harvey, is given in the College edition of 1766, 
dated 1636, or nearly ten years after his own treatise was printed. 


been sent," &c. We have here, then, another indirect admission 
by Harvey himself, that Galen could never have accredited the 
backward and forward flow of the blood in the same vessel, as 
constituting the circulation ; at least, it so appears to me, by the 
language held both by Galen and by Harvey. 

Immediately following, we find Harvey affirming that his 
"assertion appears clearly to be true, that the blood does continu- 
ally and incessantly flow through the porosities of the lungs, out 
of the right ventricle into the left." Enforcing still further the 
fact, by arguments, &c, that this passage does take place, he 
properly affirms (p. 48) that the right ventricle (here improperly 
translated left) was made for the lung's sake — and I mention 
this on account of the strange mistake of the translator, as well 
as another, at the close of the chapter, wherein Harvey is made 
to ascribe the nourishment of the heart to the coronary vein ; 
whilst his own words expressly are, arteriam coronalem. What 
translation may be depended on, without comparing with the 
original writing of an author? 

Before concluding this chapter, it may be well to state, that 
we find here an example, to which I have before adverted, of 
Harvey falling into the same absurdity, which he so heinously 
reprimands in poor Galen; by speaking of the blood as, " tanto 
puriori et spirituosiori" here and in various other places, he 
unquestionably, if words have any meaning, maintains the ex- 
istence of spirits, (whatever he meant by them,) in the blood ; 
and had no right to reprimand Galen for that which he himself 
teaches! We shall have more than one occasion to revert to this. 

In the 8th Chapter, he speaks, " Of the abundance of blood 
passing through the heart, out of the veins into the arteries, and 
of the circular motion of the blood." And he begins with a 
partial admission of the claims of some who had preceded him ; 
but of whom he mentions Galen and Columbus only, as the 
authority for their views. 

" De quibus forsan sunt aliqui, qui antea aut Galeni auctoritate, aut 
Columbi, aliorumve rationibus, adducti, assentiri se dicunt mihi." 

It is a negative kind of admission, we perceive, behind which 
his own claim may be considered as prominently exhibited ; for 


he immediately adds, that " those things which remain to be 
spoken of, though they be very considerable, yet, when I shall 
mention them, they are so new and unheard of, that not only I 
fear mischief which may arrive to me from the envy of some 
persons, but I likewise doubt that every man almost will be my 
enemy, so much does custom and doctrine once received and 
deeply rooted (as it were another nature) prevail with every 
one," &c. 

" Nunc vero de copia et proventu istius pertranseuntis sanguinis, quae 
restant (licet valde digna consideratu) cum dixero,adeo nova videbuntur et 
inaudita, ut non solum ex invidia quorundam, metuam malum mihi ; sed 
verear, ne habeam inimicos omnes homines. Tantum consuetudo, aut 
semel imbibita doctrina, altisque defixa radicibus, quasi altera natura, apud 
omnes valet," &c. 

Whatever may be thought of the first part of this sentence, 
relating to his apprehension of danger from the promulgation of 
his " new and unheard of things;" there can be but one opinion 
as to the truth of the latter part. The proposition, established 
even proverbially, is daily demonstrable, and more especially in 
the profession of medicine, in the admission of some favourite 
hypothesis, taught without diffidence, and enforced upon youth, 
before they are qualified to judge correctly of its merits ! If the 
feelings thus expressed were really experienced by Harvey, on 
the promulgation of his views in 1628, after ten or twelve years 
of oral communication ; and that, under the sanction of the Lon- 
don college of physicians ; supported moreover by a host of 
advocates, and favourers of his doctrines : how much more 
ought the admonition to impress me, whilst thus opposing his 
long-awarded claim, as the sole discoverer of the circulation of 
the blood ! It is possible I may stand alone in this adventure, 
and that it may be considered as an heretical attempt against 
the great dogma jidei medicorum! I feel constrained, however, 
to proceed, with a consciousness of all the impediments I may 
have to encounter ; under the absolute conviction, that truth alone 
is the aim of my investigation. 

But let us recur to the chapter, and inquire, what are those 
" new and unheard of things," the mere mention ol" which was 
to draw down mischief upon Harvey? Perhaps it may be con- 


ceded that they cannot apply to any of the circumstances con- 
nected with the pulmonary circulation, since we have demon- 
strated, even from Harvey's own admission, the prior claim of 
Galen, to say nothing of Servetus and others. Should it, 
nevertheless, be denied, we have other authority that can with 
difficulty be set aside. At all events, there is nothing particu- 
larly connected with that part of the circulation, that could, by 
any just pretence be considered as altogether new and unheard 
of. We may apply the same argument to the venous valves, 
which, by his own admission, were known to several of his 
predecessors; and, although he claims the explanation of their 
use, (wherein, indeed, he was perhaps more clear, and demon- 
strated the circumstance more completely ;) yet, it will be shown, 
that even here, he is not entirely without a competitor ; who, if 
not fully establishing the object of their formation, has yet so far 
unfolded it, as to leave no doubt, that it was one of the chief 
stepping-stones, by which Harvey reached his ulterior improve- 
ments. What, then, we repeat, are those "new and unheard of 
things," which he alone detected ? It cannot be the more accu- 
rate connexion which he gave to those separate and independent 
links of prior discoveries ! and for myself, I can perceive nothing 
in the chapter, that is truly entitled to the declaration of its being, 
either new or unheard of. His very arguments relative to the 
abundance of the blood, which led him to conclude " that the 
veins should be quite emptied, and the arteries on the other side, 
be burst, with too much intrusion of blood, unless the blood did 
pass back again by some way, out of the veins into the arteries, 
and return into the right ventricle of the heart,'' are evidently 
based on the pulmonary circulation. They consist in his experi- 
ments of " opening of arteries, and many ways of searching 
[none of which has he related], and from the symmetric, and 
magnitude of the ventricles of the heart, and of the vessels which 
go out from it, (noticed, as will be seen, by Servetus long before 
him,) as likewise from the continued and careful artifice of the 
doors and fibres, and the rest of the fabric, and from many other 
things," which he has not deigned to mention. Now, if all these 
things are mentioned by writers anterior to him, they cannot be 
claimed by him as new and unheard of, and so far he must 



assuredly be stripped of the title that has been so liberally 
awarded to him. 

But let us hear how greatly his physiology was improved by 
this grand discovery. I advert only at present to the idea he 
holds out, respecting the mode of nourishment by means of the 
blood, at p. 51, in explaining its " circular motion." 

" So, in all likeliliood, it comes to pass, in the body, that all 
the parts are nourished, cherished, and quickened with blood, 
which is warm, perfect, vaporous, full of spirit (spirituoso : 
quere, if the spirit here and elsewhere attributed to the blood by 
Harvey, is not at least, adequate to balance the same, in Galen, 
for which Harvey has taken him so unceremoniously to task 1) 
and, that I may so say, alimentative : in the parts, the blood is 
refrigerated, coagulated, and made as it were, barren; from 
thence it returns to the heart, as to the fountain or dwelling 
house of the body, to recover its perfection, and there again, by 
natural heat, powerful and vehement, it is melted, and is 
dispensed again through the body from thence, being fraught 
with spirits as with balsam, and that all things do depend upon 
the motional pulsation of the heart." If the alleged discovery 
of the mere route of the circulation, necessarily leads to such 
impotent conclusions, well might Pitcairn and others admit, that 
it had added but little to medical certainty in practice, &c. ; for, 
wherein are they superior to those attributed to Galen, and his 
asserted views of a reciprocal flux and reflux in the same vessel? 
for my part, however present physiology may be presumed to 
have been improved, by more expanded views of the importance 
of the circulation, if, indeed, this be the case ; I must confess, 
that I cannot perceive much benefit to have accrued, or as 
beino - likely to accrue, from the mere additional proofs of a cir- 
culation that Harvey might be supposed to afford, to the more 
limited, yet plausible, notion of his predecessors. I have already 
adverted to this particular, when stating the opinions of Pitcairn; 
and I shall now merely add a few additional proofs from one of 
his predecessors, viz., his own illustrious master, Aquapendente, 
who, he affirms, knew not the use of the valves, and consequently 
was unacquainted with the true nature of the circulation ; yet, 
we shall find him laying down his precepts for blood-letting, in 



a manner not to be surpassed even in the present day : thus, 
treating of the cure of affections of the head, (see Medicina 
Practica, Ed. 1634, Paris, p. 38.) he thus writes, 

" Omnes probant sectionem venae, quia abundat sanguis." " De quan- 
titate sanguinis nihil certi statui potest, quia vel copiosius, vel parcius 
mittandus est, habita ratione xtatis, temperamenti, consuetudinis, temporis 
anni, quae sanguinis quantitatem indicant: Si adsit copia, ne iraitemini 
timidos medicos, qui non audent ultra septem, aut octo uncias mittere; 
Mittite 12, 16, 20^." — "Quaeritur in aliis etiam doloribus capitis liceatne 
venam secare? Respondeo, si perseveret dolor, venas etiam frontis 
secandas esse : item venas post aures, aut nasi : item venas sub lingua, si 
commode aperiantur, possunt capitis plenitudinem lenire : sed nunquam 
adhaec particularia deveniendum," etc. — " Si quis dicat nullum reperiri 
medicamentum quod possit sanguinem ipsum evacuare ; Respondeo, hujus- 
modi medicamentum purgare quaedam excrementa acriora quae sunt permixta 
sanguini, et ita sanguinem puriorem reddere: et hac ratione sanguinis 
copia etiam minuitur, et ipsius mala qualitas remittitur." 

It seems evident to me, that a man who writes thus on veni- 
section, and on the effect of purgation on the mass of blood ; 
and who, moreover, so well appreciates the influence of the 
different agents he enumerates in blood-letting; could acquire 
but few additional practical ideas, from merely being enlight- 
ened by a more distinct route of circulation being pointed out 
to him ; even if Harvey's new and unheard of things were 
superadded. Numerous other examples from Aquapendente 
and his predecessors might be given to the same effect : and all 
would tend to prove, that a mere knowledge of the route of the 
blood, alone considered, confers no extraordinary capacity on 
the physician in his judgment of blood-letting. 

We see throughout, that Harvey considers the heart to be the 
grand organ of hasmatosis. If so, it can only be by a mere' 
mechanical action, like that of a churn; by which might be 
supposed to ensue, a separation of serum and crassamentum, 
from a prior homogeneous mass of chyle, like that of butter- 
milk and butter, in the churning of cream ! Whoever believes 
the heart to be the organ of hasmatosis, can explain it in no 
other way ! and if it is apparently absurd, as thus presented ; 
then it may be apprehended, that Galen's doctrine of the 
necessity of the liver, to the formation of the blood, is scarcely 


more, if as objectionable! To evince still more the petty 
views which this asserted discovery of the route of circulation 
awakened in the mind of Harvey, admitting his undivided right 
thereto ; we have but to advance in the chapter before us, and 
if possible, avoid to wonder at the extraordinary honours 
showered upon him, to the total exclusion of his less fortunate 
predecessors ! " So the heart is the beginning of life, the sun of 
the microcosm, as proportionably the sun deserves to be called 
the heart of the world, by whose virtue and pulsation, the blood 
is moved, perfected, made vegetable, (vegetatur, qu 1 enlivened,) 
and is defended from corruption and mattering (grumefactione, 
qu 1 clotting) ; and this familiar household God doth his duty 
to the whole body by nourishing, cherishing, and enlivening, 
being the foundation of life, and author of all." In all this, can 
much be traced, as to the luminous expansion of physiology, 
&c, which, we shall find, Harvey considered as to flow from 
this discovery of the circulation ? Nor does he appear to me, 
to be happy in his explanation of terms ; as in this very chapter, 
wherein he speaks of the veins as, 

" Certain ways or vessels carrying- blood ; there are two sorts of them, 
the cava and aorta." That both are " not undeservedly called veins by 
the ancients, as Galen has observed, because that this, viz., the arterie, is 
a way carrying the blood from the heart into the habit of the body, the 
other, a way carrying it from the habit of the body, back again into the 
heart," &c. 

I have already remarked on the error of Dr. Rush, respect- 
ing the asserted ignorance of Hippocrates, of the distinction 
between arteries and veins; and attempted to show, that the 
distinction was sufficiently known to that great man ; with other 
particulars not necessary to repeat. I shall only add, that I 
believe Galen has no where explained the difference of these 
vessels in the way mentioned by Harvey. If he had, however, 
particularized the passage, we might better judge of this ; for 
so voluminous are Galen's writings, that a general reference 
is by no means sufficient. At any rate, I have searched for it 
in vain. We must be permitted to judge of Galen by his own 
words, and not by the mere assertion of others, without a parti- 


cular reference. Now, since Harvey has omitted this, 1 think 
it but justice to give Galen's own definition of an artery and 
vein, as laid down in his " Finitiones Medicae," one of the 
introductory books ; and to which reference might be had with 
advantage on many occasions. 

" Vena, est vas sanguinis, et sanguini contemporati spiritus nativi, ner- 
vosa, humida, et calida, sensum obtinens ; habet tamen sanguinis plus, 
nativi spiritus minus. 

Arteria est vas sanguinis paucioris puriorisque ; et contemporati spiritus 
genuini copiosioris, ac tenuioris, calidior et siccior, ac sententior quam vena, 
pulsatili motu praedita." 

Another definition is given of an artery in the same place ; 
but neither in it, nor in the above, do we find any thing like the 
explanation assigned to it by Harvey. 

And now, let me again ask what is to be found in this chapter, 
that can be claimed by Harvey as absolutely new and unheard 
of, and from which he may be entitled to the enviable appellation 
of the Discoverer of the Circulation ? What are the particular 
points which fully and satisfactorily establish his claim ? Surely, 
some few judicious observations, and reasonings founded on 
facts established long before him ; together with some few ad- 
ditional experiments, and which indeed are few, if only those 
he mentions in his work ; are not sufficient to establish him as 
the author of the discovery ! If he is admitted to have traced 
more luminously, and thereby rendered more probable, his great 
outline of that general circulation, which no one doubted of; 
must we therefore invest him with the full and perfect mantle? 
Would he have been led to that train of observation and experi- 
ment, which gave a high degree of perfection to a plausible, but 
problematical hypothesis, had it not been for the close approxima- 
tion of his predecessors? Could he (as Dr. Z. Wood affirms in his 
preface), like Archimedes, boldly exclaim eup*r/a? Surely, if what 
he has advanced can give him this exclusive right, and make us 
forgetful of that of others ; it may be concluded that there is some 
imperfection in our language demanding supervision ! At the 
same time, it is scarcely too much to affirm that the physiology 
unfolded by him, and resulting from his reasoning on the facts 
adduced, can scarcely be admitted in a single instance ! Are 


his advocates to uphold his claim at all hazards, and to the com- 
plete prostration of the rights of others ? Cannot a few be found, 
who will investigate his claims in the minutest particulars, so 
that the profession may hereafter, either fully acquiesce in them ; 
or bring down the idol, so long extravagantly worshipped, to 
the level he should hold in the Republic of Medicine ! 

I now proceed to notice the 9th Chapter of his treatise, which 
is thus headed. " That there is a circulation of the blood, from 
the confirmation of the first supposition." 

In order to comprehend this, it is necessary to extract a small 
part of the beginning of the chapter. " But lest any one should 
think, says Harvey, that we put a cheat upon them, and bring 
only fair assertions, without any ground, and innovate ivithout a 
cause ; there comes three things to be confirmed, which being 
set down, I think this truth must needs follow, and be apparent 
to all men. 

" First, that the blood is continually, and without any inter- 
mission, transmitted out of the vena cava into the arteries, in so 
great abundance, that it cannot be recruited by those things we 
take in, and in so much that the whole mass of blood would 
quickly pass through." 

Precision, (although strictly demanded for Harvey on the 
part of his opponents, by all his admirers) appears not to have 
been his fort! and had he not himself so frequently called his 
predecessors to account for trifling peccadilloes, I should have 
regarded my present remarks as hypercritical. Thus, when we 
find him, ch. 5. charging Galen with basely (turpiter) denying, 
what he elsewhere affirms ; we may be allowed to think, that he 
ought to have been peculiarly careful of tripping, especially in 
anatomical accuracy. Here, however, we find him, in the above 
quotation, asserting the continual transmission of blood from the 
vena cava into the arteries, thus passing by entirely the heart, 
both as respects its auricles and ventricles ! And in a page or 
two in advance, he likewise makes use of a similar erroneous 
expression, viz. that the blood is transfused "out of the veins 
into the arteries." Unquestionably, he did not mean precisely 
what his words nevertheless express; but carelessness and inat- 


tention are no excuse for Harvey; especially as it continued in 
all the editions of his work : whilst, at the same time, this very 
chapter amply demonstrates that he knew full well, "that the 
arteries receive blood no where else but from the veins, by trans- 
mission through the heart," and I should have passed this in 
silence, if the subject had not been so highly important, that in 
its consideration, Harvey's meaning, like Caesar's wife, should 
not admit of even the slightest suspicion. His sentence, here, is 
in some measure, preparatory to the subsequent celebrated esti- 
mate of the amount of blood that may be supposed to pass from 
the heart at each pulsation : now this, of course can be merely 
an approximation, not founded on any absolute or definite data. 
He has consequently made the estimate, on a presumption that the 
left ventricle contains, when fully dilated, either one and a half 
ounces, 2 oz. or 3 ounces* ; and that on every contraction " there 
is sent forth in every pulse of the heart, an ounce and a half, or 

* Such diversity exists in different editions, as to render it difficult to know 
which to select. Thus to mention only the part under notice. The English 
translation is thus given : " Let us suppose how much blood the left ventricle 
contains in its dilatation when it is full, either by our thought or experiment, 
either §ii. or §iii. or §iss." 

My Glasgow edition of 1751, has it as follows. — Supponamus (vel cogitatione 
vel experimento) sinistrum ventriculum in dilatatione, quum est, continere 
sanguinis uncias duas, tres, quatuor ;" — whilst the great 4to. edit, of the Lond. 
College of 1776, has thus printed it. — "Supponamns (vel cogitatione, vel experi- 
mento) quantum sanguinis sinister ventriculus in dilatatione (quum repletus sit) 
contineat ; sive uncias duas, sive uncias tres, sive sescunciam :" The Latin text of 
the translation given above, is as follows in the Glasgow edition : " Supponamus 
unciam semis, vel drachmas tres, aut unam tantum sanguinis, quae propter impe- 
dimentum valvularum, in cor remeare non possit:" and in the College edit, thus, 
" supponamus unciam semis, vel drachmas tres, vel drachmam unam sanguinis." 

An idea of the difference of different editions of Harvey's treatise may per. 
haps be estimated by the statement of the Lond. Col. collected ; by which it appears, 
that ed. de motu Cordis, differs from the Frankfort edit, of 1628, in not less than 
two hundred and fifty instances, and in the two Exercitations to Riolan to one hun- 
dred and fifty more. It is true they are chiefly typographical, yet four hundred 
errors pointed out by the College in a treatise of only about two hundred and 
seventy 12mo. pages, very widely printed, must be a source of great surprise. 
Now Harvey should be estimated by his first impressions, and not by those subse- 
quently attained, in part from the animadversions of opponents, or as afterwards 
given by his friends long after his death. It is called Variantes Lectiones, edit. 
Francofurtensis, 1628, et edit. 1766, nostra. 


three drachms, or one drachm of blood, which by reason of the 
hindrance of the portals cannot return to the heart." 

Harvey's second proposition is " That continually, duely and 
without cease, the blood is driven into every member and part, 
and enters by the pulse of the arteries; and that in a far greater 
abundance than is necessary for nourishment, or than the whole 
mass is able to furnish." Now, since Harvey contends else- 
where, that the heart alone, drives the blood through the arteries ; 
and this being his belief, of course there is some further evidence 
of discrepancy here. 

His third proposition is, " That the veins themselves do per- 
petually bring back this blood into the mansion of the heart," 
though by what means, he leaves us in the dark. And after 
running through his estimates, he comes to the conclusion, " that 
the whole mass of the blood does pass out of the veins into the 
arteries through the heart, and likewise through the lungs." 
Excepting this mere calculation, Galen, Servetus and Columbus, 
appear to have had the same impression : nothing absolutely new 
seems to be adduced; especially of such a nature as to lead 
him to apprehend, and " fear mischief" from some persons. Of 
what kind of mischief he was apprehensive, I have no idea ; 
surely, not personal violence ! As to mere difference of opinion, 
this could, or should, merely have instigated him to a further 
developement of his views ; which are not unfrequently difficult 
of comprehension, from their extreme brevity ; — and by which 
the incorrect ideas of his opponents might have been set at rest, 
or fully repelled ; without leaving to others to decide between 
him and the Moines and Detractors, whom he never read! 

It might well be supposed from Harvey's words, soon after, that, 
not content with assuming the discovery of the circulation in full ; 
he is also the only one who had noticed the influence of the so 
called non-naturals upon the pulse and circulation. His words 
admit, I think, of no other construction ; and yet 'a quotation 
from his master Aquapendente's writing, given a few pages back, 
as well as another, from Villa Nova, will sufficiently prove that 
others before him had fully observed all these particulars of 
practical importance, if we even admit them to have been igno- 
rant of the true or perfect route of the blood in the system. " In 


the mean time, says he, this I know and declare to all men, that 
sometimes the blood passes in less, sometimes in more abundant 
quantity, and the circuit of the blood is performed sometimes 
sooner, sometimes slower, according to the age, temperature, 
external and internal causes, and accidents natural or unnatural, 
sleep, rest, food, exercise, passions of the mind, and the like." 
Now it is certain that none of the old writers appear ignorant of 
the vast influence of the above mentioned causes over the pulse : 
they lay great stress in all their writings, on these non-naturals, 
and none more than Galen. Nor indeed, can we suppose, that 
they could, practically, have directed blood-letting, with any 
chance of success, had they not been fully able to appreciate the 
importance of those causes, which they so sedulously studied in 
their effects; and perhaps it may be thought that Harvey admits 
the truth of this opinion, in the next sentence but one, wherein 
he adverts to a fact stated by Galen, and by which he thinks, 
strength is afforded to his opinion, that more blood is conveyed 
" into the arteries, and the whole body, than it is possible that it 
could be supplied by juice of nourishment which we receive, un- 
less there were a regress made by its circuition." The fact he 
refers to is, " that if any, yea, the least artery be cut, all the mass 
of blood will be drained out of the whole body, as well out of the 
veins, as out of the arteries, in the space of half an hour." It is 
surprising how Harvey could narrate this of Galen, and doubt 
a conviction of a circulation between the arteries and veins, by 
that extraordinary man ; and not less so, that he and others 
should have ever credited him with the absurd notion of a flux 
and reflux of the blood in the same vessel ! 

It is in this chapter that Harvey first makes mention of the 
valves, or " stoppages of portals ;" and so far as I can perceive, 
his demonstrations respecting these portals, (which, aided as 
they are by engravings, are excellent and conclusive in the 13th 
chapter,) are really the only "new and unheard of things," in 
the whole of his writings. As for this discovery, he admits that 
" the most famous Hieron. Fabricius ab Aquapendente, a most 
learned anatomist, and a venerable old man, or, as the most 
learned Riolan would have it, Jac. Sylvius, did first of any 
delineate the membranal portals in the veins, being in the figure 


of a 2, or semilunarie, the most eminent and thinnest parts of 
the inward tunicles, of the veins, &c." Acknowledging this 
prior discovery of his master, he nevertheless in the succeeding 
page, says, " the finder out of these portals, did not understand 
the use of them, nor others (whom he names not) who have said 
lest the blood by its weight should fall downwards, &c." We 
must then perceive, that giving to Harvey the utmost latitude 
that he himself demands, his whole discovery of the new and 
unheard of things which he claims in the 8th chapter, resolves 
itself into that of the use of these valves : and whether, after 
what has already been shown, even by his own admission, that 
Galen knew the use of the valves of the heart ; this, alone, is 
competent to invest him with the honour of the full and perfect 
discovery of the circulation, must be decided by the judgment 
of those who will reflect carefully on the subject, after duly 
investigating it in all its bearings. My own judgment is 
undoubtedly in direct opposition to this broad acknowledgment ; 
conceiving that there is ample honour in dividing the discovery 
with his predecessors, and persuaded that I do him no injustice 
in coming to such conclusion. It remains however to see, 
whether even this is not too large a grant ; and if his claim is 
not narrowed down to the mere exposition, in a clearer and 
more accurately demonstrated light, of those uses, which others 
had already assigned them. His words sufficiently imply, that 
some persons had already busied themselves in conjectures on 
the subject. Not having the works of Sylvius, I cannot 
precisely state what his opinion was, as it respects their use. 
Jac. Sylvius, mentioned by Riolan, was born in 1492, or nearly 
eighty years before Harvey. He was a warm advocate of 
Galen and Hippocrates, and probably hints at the subject under 
consideration, in some of his numerous writings. He died in 
1555, and from the outline of his works, as given by Vander- 
linden, must have been a very extraordinary man. I put him 
however out of the question, in order to present to the medical 
reader, an extract from the writings of a man illustrious in his 
day ; wherein we may perhaps see a faint, if not a perfect and 
full idea, held forth of the valves in question ; and likewise of 
their use ; if he tacitly admits them to have been known to 



others before him, of which I am by no means satisfied ; but 
rather believe he claims this discovery for himself; at least, 
he speculates on their high importance in the system, and ap- 
pears to have been nearly beside himself, on first seeing them. 
And why has this writer never been noticed by Harvey, or any 
one of his advocates, in connexion with any thing pertaining to 
the subject of the circulation 1 I think I shall make it apparent 
to every candid reader, who will carefully weigh what is stated, 
that Harvey was by no means ignorant of him and his 
writings; and that even without speaking of his views, he 
indirectly attacks them, and yet gives the reader not the most 
distant idea of whom he is speaking. Circumstantial evidence 
of what I thus affirm, against the integrity or the ingenuousness 
of Harvey is all that can be expected ; but I believe it to be 
adequate, before any jury of our profession, to cause them to 
bring in a verdict against him. If such should appear to be the 
real state of the case; I must request again, every medical 
man, seriously to ask himself, where one individual " new and 
unheard of thing," is presented by Harvey to the profession? 

The author to whom I have reference, is Archangelus 
Piccolhomini, a celebrated professor of anatomy at Rome, of 
which he was a citizen, though a native of Ferrara; he was 
born in 1526, and from Jenty's account, (Histor. Compend. cxiii.) 
must have been very thoroughly master of the subject; even 
had not his writings reached us. He was physician to Pope 
Sextus V., to whom he dedicated his " Anatomicse Praslectiones," 
which were printed at Rome, in fol. an. 1586, consequently in 
his 60th year, and when Harvey was only eight years old. It 
will be recollected in the Biography of Harvey, that he was 
born in 1578, and we may just add, that he was admitted into 
Caius College in 1593, that is, at fifteen years of age; and after 
six years continuance there, which would bring it up to 1599, 
and his age to twenty-one; he proceeded to Padua, to study 
medicine, under Fabricius ab Aquapendente, J. T. Minadous, 
G. Raguseus, and Jul. Casserius; who signed his diploma on 
the 25th April, 1602. A full copy of this diploma is given at 
the end of the quarto edition of his works, printed by the 
College of Physicians of London, in 1766. It is clear, therefore, 


that when Harvey began the study of medicine, and pursued 
anatomy under Aquapendente, in 1599, that Piccolhomini's 
Anatomy had been printed no less than thirteen years; and 
must certainly have been familiarly known to, if not a 
text-book of Aquapendente, and therefore, most probably, 
equally well known to Harvey : can the reverse be imagined, as 
at all likely? Padua is scarcely two hundred miles from Rome, 
and both schools, at that time, were amongst the foremost of the 
age. Books were not then made on mere speculation, as now, 
but for actual perusal and investigation; such a one as that 
alluded to, must have been well established, and familiar, 
wherever anatomy or medicine was taught : and yet, as before 
observed, although speaking clearly and distinctly of the valves 
and their use, neither Harvey, nor any one of his commentators 
or admirers have, in a single instance, referred to him ! How 
is this, and wherefore ? Let his best friends explain so great 
and wonderful an omission! and especially, in doing so, let 
them bear in mind the following indirect proof of Harvey's 
unquestionable acquaintance with his writings, and which I 
premise, before I give the extract I have in view. 

It is a curious coincidence, yet one that fully assures me, 
that although Harvey's work was first printed in 1628, or more 
than forty years after Piccolhomini's, that certain terms of 
reproach, given by Harvey to his opponents, and which have 
already been adverted to ; are also employed by Piccolhomini, 
under nearly the like circumstances ! amongst these, it will be 
recollected, is to be found the contemptuous appellation of 
" Momos," that is, one who envies another, and which is trans- 
lated momes. Now, this is too remarkable a word, and the 
circumstances are too nearly alike, to authorize an opinion, that 
it has accidentally only found a place in the writings of 
Harvey ! It is obvious that Piccolhomini could not have copied 
it from Harvey, who published forty years after him. Without 
regarding it then, as plagiarism ; I must absolutely presume that 
it was nevertheless extracted from Piccolhomini, during 
Harvey's perusal of his writings ; and the reader will judge of 
the circumstances, better, after adducing the extract from P. m 
which it appears. He is addressing the reader in a preface, the 


whole of which deserves attention ; but I give only the part in 
which he thus vents his complaint. 

" Sicuti scribente Terentio Comico, natura comparatum est, studiosissime 
Lector, ut qui minus habent, semper aliquid addere velint ditionbus : ita 
male natura comparatum est, ut ii, qui minus sciunt, semper aliquid addere 
velint doctioribus, horum scripta accusantes, atque mordentes, quod temerana 
existimatione judicent, vel aliquid deesse, vel superesse, vel aliquid tale : 
atque ita prava natura et consuetudine ducti, in doctissimorum virorum 
scriptis, tamquam in scirpo nodum quaerentes, a maledicendo, nunquam de- 
sistant, tamquam homines solum ad maledicendum nati. Hinc factum esse 
reor, ut qui suos infinitos praeclaros diu noctuque susceptos labores, in pub- 
licam omnium utilitatem, tamquam homines ad benedicendum, etjbenefa- 
ciendum nati, proferre decreverint ; cogantur initio scriptorum suorum, 
squissimo lectori, instituti consiliique sui rationem reddere, ut hos momos, 
qui hominem ex homine exuisse videntur, a prava eorum natura revocentur, 
et adhumanam civilemque benignitatem sensim deducantur." 

Whether this mild philippic of Piccolhomini is the basis of the 
more bitter one of Harvey, remains, as above stated, for the 
judgment of the reader to determine. Such is my belief, and for 
the reasons already assigned. Continuing in the same strain, all 
of which, however, it is unnecessary to repeat, he adds : 

" Nam quum publice haec pronunciare sim solitus, Hippocrates anatomen 
invenit, Aristoteles amplificavit, Galenus perficit, mox quis ex Momorum 
numero dicet, si anatome a Galeno est perfecta, profecto hae tuae anatomica; 
praelectiones irritae et supervacaneae videbuntur," &c. 

We see from hence, that Harvey was not the first who had 
been thus virulently attacked by momes and detractors: but 
whoever compares the two, will find Harvey, I think, infinitely 
the most severe. Referring to the English translation already 
quoted, I would again ask, if there is not some probabi- 
lity of Harvey having looked into Piccolhomini's writings, 
although he no where mentions him? He was no opponent, 
since his work was printed before Harvey began the study of 
medicine; and it is therefore the more surprising that he has 
so entirely passed him by ! Still further, in confirmation of our 
opinion that Harvey well knew the writings of Piccolhomini, I 
may remark, that if we look to some of his expressions, as in his 
1 3th Chapter, we find them very strong, at times, in apparently 


opposing the uses that had been ascribed by " others" to the 
valves; but who those "others" were, is left to conjecture alto- 
gether! so that we can draw no conclusions of our own, by 
investigating for ourselves, but must rest satisfied with the 
meagre statement of Harvey. Is this correct, especially in the 
investigation of a subject advanced as new ; and accompanied 
with such " new and unheard of things" as even to make him 
tremble for his safety ! Thus, affirming that the " finder out of 
the portals, did not understand the use of them," he adds, " nor 
others, who have said, lest the blood by its weight should fall 
downward : for there are in the jugular vein those that look 
downwards, and do hinder the blood to be carried upwards. I 
(as likewise others) have found in the emulgent veins and 
branches of the mesenteric, those which did look towards the 
vena cava, and vena porta ;" &c. — " Nor are their portals in 
the jugulars, as others say, for fear of apoplexy, because the 
matter is apt in sleep to flow into the head through the sopral 
arteries." Now, I would request the reader to compare the 
above affirmed uses by others, with what we shall find in the ex- 
tract following, from Piccolhomini; and judge if they are not too 
identical, to doubt for an instant that Harvey had him in view, at 
least as one of the indefinite others (alii, et quida^n) he alludes to, 
although a mystery is made of his name ? the reason of which 
must be left to the candid interpretation of the reader. Realdus 
(Columbus) and Piccolhomini, are likewise, certainly, of those 
thus loosely referred to by Harvey, as having found the valves 
in the mesenteric branches ; for Piccolhomini, p. 95, expressly 

" Cum sint innumerabiles venae mesaraicae quae a jecore extensaein intes- 
tina, suis extremis infingantur ; existimavit Realdus, huic harum venarum 
infinitati, hoc est, infinitis harum extremis, suam cuique valvam esse ad- 
dictam, ut sicut innumerabiles sunt venae mesaraicae, ita innumerabiles 
quoque sint valvae, veluti ostiola eis apposita, quae spectarent foris intro ita, 
ut sinant chylum ab intestinis, intra venas fluere, non autem sinant intus 
foras refluere," &c. 

If I am correct in my idea, I think this chapter of Piccol- 
homini a very interesting one, and especially in his opposition to 
some of Realdus' views. I should judge too, that he is speaking, 
as well as Harvey, of the lacteals, (not long before discovered 


by Asellius ; and to whom, as to so many others, Harvey has 
been unjust in his silence,) rather than of the veins, properly so 
called ; the lacteals being indeed, at that period, known by the 
name of lacteous veins. Let us now, then, having thus rendered 
it possible that Harvey was actually acquainted with this 
author's work, see what he knew, and has said respecting the 
valves ; and how far it is probable, that the uses assigned to 
them by him, were, in the highest degree, calculated to lead 
Harvey to conclusions rather more perfect than had been pre- 
viously the case, especially as strengthened by a few, perhaps, 
newly devised experiments. 

In treating of the veins, p. 412, which is very concisely done, 
he terminates the subject in the following manner : and I must 
again entreat the reader to bear in mind, that this author is not 
referred to, (so far as I have been able to pursue the research,) 
by a single person, from Harvey downwards, in relation to this 
valvular apparatus of the veins, and its uses ! although he is 
unquestionably one of the nameless "others" of the Harveian 
illustration : 

"Restaret itaque post omnium partium explicationem, ut de dispersione 
et distributions omnium venarum, et arteriarum, quae illarum sunt comites, 
disputarem. Verifm quoniam rem hanc celeberrimi anatomici prae caeteris 
rebus accuratissime tractarunt, idcirco omittendam putavimus, ab illis 
petendam. : XT° Unum solum eis addere volo, magni momenti, ab omnibus 
prsetermissum, quod mihi summam admirationem, quum Mud comperi ila 
excitavit, ut fere in ecstasim ageret. Quod est, in mediis venis reconditas esse 
innumerabiles pcne valvas, qusemadmodum in orificiis 1 vasorum cordis. Hae 
venarum valvae maxime conspicuae sunt in divisione ramorum venae cavae. 
Quarum aliae superne deorsum, aliae inferne sursum, spectant. Ex. gr. ubi 
vena cava diducitur in jugularem externam et internam, ibi collocataejacent 
valvae superne deorsum spectantes. Quern in usum et finem? Aliquando 
demonstravi cerebrum et partium superiorum praepotentem esse vim attrac- 
tricem, quoniam sanguis quum gravis sit, valida vi sursum trahi et rapi 
debebat. Illae igitur valvae venas claudentes, tantum spatii relinquunt, 
quantum satis sit sanguini in superas partes attracto ; quae valvae si non 
adessent dum homo, ut dormiat; vel ut quiescat, decumbit, universus san- 
guis fluidus existens irrueret in cerebrum, hujus ventriculos inferciens, et 
apoplexiam committens. Hunc igitur in finem in superioribus venis, 
fabraefactae sunt valvae superne deorsum spectantes, ne in decubitu, confertim 
sanguis in cerebrum impetat, mille cerebri affectus praeternaturam procrea- 
turus. Similiter in inferioribus venis, ex. gr. ubi vena cava bipartitd 
scinditur in tibias progressiva, sunt collocatae valvae inferne sursum spec- 


tantes. Quern in usum ? Ne sanguis quum sit gravis et fluidus, totus 
repente procumbat in pedes, inferioresque partes. In venis itaque a natura 
constitutae sunt valvae, idque ex parvis venarum intervallis, alias sursum, 
alias deorsum spectantes, in eos prseclarissimos usus, quos modo exposui 

If right in my conjecture, as I think I am, that Harvey had 
perused the writings of Piccolhomini, I cannot but think, like- 
wise, that the uses thus ascribed to the valves, first gave to him 
the idea of the more perfect intentions of their use, which he 
more fully developed. That he has not named this very intelli- 
gent and perspicuous writer redounds not to his credit ! and all 
things considered, we surely find still further reason for demand- 
ing of his admirers, what " new and unheard of things" Harvey 
actually has propounded? What is it he really and justly claims 
as his own, in the establishment of the circulation promulgated 
by him I It, apparently, must be narrowed down to a very 
small compass, divided thus amongst so many of his predecessors. 

Continuing the subject in connexion with the valves, he 
(Harvey) notices the impetuous spouting of the blood from 
arteries when cut ; together with the emptying of the vessels 
completely, both arteries and veins, conformably to an assertion 
of Galen quoted by him, that, " not only in the apertion of the 
great arterie, but if- any, yea, the least arterie be cut, all the 
mass of blood will be drained out of the whole body, as well out 
of the veins as out of the arteries, in the space of half an hour," 
which, if Galen knew as a fact, as Harvey thus admits, it would 
seem to convey the impression, of a conviction on his part, of a 
perfect and complete union of these distinct classes of vessels ; 
and, of course, that a circulation existed between them, without 
which such an event as he describes could by no means ensue. 
What mattered it, that he knew not the precise mode of com- 
munication, which he supposed to be that of anastomosis. Has 
Harvey's porosities been better established ? But Harvey further 
notices, in the like connexion, the effect of tying the aorta at 
the root of the heart, and opening any other artery : the arteries 
will then remain empty, and the veins full, as explained by his 
views of the circulation of the blood, from the veins to the 
arteries, through the heart ; adding, that perchance the fulness 


of the veins, and the emptiness of the arteries after death, "gave 
occasion of doubt to the ancients, and of believing, that spirits 
alone were contained in those concavities, whilst the animal was 
alive." If words have any meaning, and more especially, if 
their meaning be the same, when used alike by Harvey and by 
Galen; the former and his advocates can scarcely convict the 
latter of a fault or error, into which Harvey himself has so 
repeatedly fallen ! If he meant not what his words import, it 
might be equally asserted in behalf of Galen, had he not, even by 
the statements of Harvey himself, as formerly pointed out, 
positively denied that the arteries contained ought but blood 
alone ! Without maintaining, however, that Harvey really be- 
lieved that spirits existed in the blood, we can only affirm that 
his words do repeatedly express it; and it surely would be unfair 
to measure Galen by a rule that would not equally apply to 
Harvey. It was not, after all, a general opinion of the ancients, 
putting Galen out of the question, any more than in the time of 
Harvey; who can with difficulty be exonerated from such a 
belief. Harvey concludes this chapter by an assertion, in my 
opinion, unproved ; but which will, I apprehend, apply more fully 
and correctly to himself, individually, than to almost any other 
writer I have consulted on the subject. " Last of all," says he, 
"from hence we may imagine, that no man hitherto, has said any 
thing aright concerning the anastomosis, where it is, how it is, 
and for what cause," adding, " I am now in that search." A 
search he never brought to a conclusion. 

In resuming this particular, already so largely dwelt on ; but 
which I stated as requiring reiterated notice, from its frequent 
enunciation by Harvey, I shall here quote the words of his 
enthusiastic biographer, from the 28th page of his life, in the 
4to edit, of his works, 1766, published by the College of 

" In nulla re magis Harveius elaboraverat, quam at ostenderet experi- 
ments sanguinem a venis in arterias ea solum lege duci posse, (that is, as 
just before stated, that ' sanguinem denique ex arteriarum extremis vi cordis 
propulsum in carnium meatus tradi, et ex his, a venarum principiis in cor 
deducendum excipi amrmasset , ) ut ab illis cordis ventriculis exceptus et 
horum motu propulsus in arterias progrederetur ; et, quod ad Riolanum 
praecipue spectat, nullam esse sanguinis a venis in arterias rcciproca- 


tionem. Hoc consilio in prima sua excercitatione valvularum in venis usum 
summo studio perquisivit et exposuit. (Remember that this was forty years 
after Piccolhomini's exposition.) Ea res siquidem, valvularum nempe 
forma atque fabrica, demonstrante Fabricio, primum Harveii animum ita 
percusserat, ut quasi fulgure coruscante (UT* by Piccolhomini's premonitory 
scintillations !) veras sanguinis vias subito (!) illustratas perspicere sibi 
visus esset. Idcirco non nisi dubie atque hsesitanter de mis, quibus ab 
extremis arteriis in venarum principia tradatur sanguis, loquitur : et quodam 
modo definere fugit, utrum per carnium meatus, porositates vocat, sanguis 
propulsus in venarum radices detur, an ductu arteriarum continuo in eas 
deferatur.* Anastomoses tandem, quales nimirum veteres voluerunt, omnino 
pernegat .■ et demum re diligentius pensitata, non experimentis victus, (nam 
Harveii temporibus nemo, ne microscopii quidem ope, venarum arteria- 
rumque copulationes mutuas unquam viderat,f concedit arteriarum propa- 
gines minimas inter venarum tunicas ita posse perrepere, ut sanguis in venas 
obliqua tradatur via, quali scilicet ureteres in vesicam, et ductus choledochus in 
intestinum progrediuntur."jf. But (continues his biographer,) " Quod rem 
totam spectat, necesse est, ut confiteamur (!) recentiores, oculis nostris judicibus 
incorruptis, ostendisse sanguinem plerumque in venas ex arteriis ductu conti- 
nuo, nullo parenchymate interjecto, deferri ; nee tamen Harveii conjecturam 
omnino rejiciendam esse: (good! this is calling things by their proper 
name ; and Harvey's discovery, in the eyes of his warm advocates, thus 
diminishes to a mere conjecture !) arteris enim pleraeque, ese, quae venarum 
tunicis vitam et alimentum ferunt, nulla minore vena interposita, in venam 
cui alendae dicantur, eodem prorsus modo quo Harveius vult, sanguinem 
suum effundunt." 

Such are the accredited views of a so called discovery ! 
which has immortalized one man, whilst the (nearly or) equal 
merit of others, is thrown completely into neglect or oblivion ! 
These precious confessions by the College, of Harvey's uncer- 
tainties as to the only link apparently defective, must help to 
determine the real character and proportion of his claim. As 
he died in the year 1658, or thirty years after the first edition 

* And yet, with this acknowledged doubt and difficulty, not less conspicuous 
now than in the time of Harvey, if not indeed of Galen himself; with this proof, 
that the knowledge of the circulation was then, and is yet imperfect in its most 
important link of communication, we confidently affirm the discovery to be com- 
plete, and give the entire merit of it to Dr. Harvey ! 

t Yet he employed them, as he says in ch. 4, " ope perspicilli ad res minimas 
discernendas .'" 

t And yet, the discovery of the circulation was considered complete, and the 
full award given to Harvey ! 



of his work, he had every facility of perfecting his system, 
which the co-operation of friends, or the animadversion of 
opponents, might present for his consideration ; and what did it 
amount to ? To the same obscurity, the same uncertainty ; but 
with no relaxation of his exclusive claim : nor a doubt of that 
being a discovery, which is even yet imperfect and unsettled !* 

If the outline of the general circulation may be admitted as 
being more correct, and rendered more clear through his argu- 
ments and facts ; such acknowledgment must be withheld, when 
we descend to particulars : and in no part, more than in that 
which has thus again obtruded on the patience of the reader ! 
It cannot, however, be pretermitted, considering the importance 
he appears himself to have attached to it ; and I can only entreat 
forbearance, whilst I enlarge on the subject. It has already 
been shown, that many of his advocates, in speaking of an 
anastomosis, have viewed it as existing between the large 
branches of veins and arteries ; what Galen exactly meant by 
it, might perhaps be difficult to establish, except indeed to satisfy 
most readers, that it was not the anastomosis of Harvey's 
conception, mentioned above, as being of an oblique nature, 
resembling the opening of the ureter, or ductus cholidochus ! 
Although Galen mentions anastomosis in several places ; it is 
one of them alone, to which Harvey confines himself, viz., that 
in which Galen's words run thus : 

"In toto est mutua anastomosis, atque oscillorum apertio arteriis simul 
cum venis," etc. 

Had Harvey written this himself, no doubt his advocates 

* The reader is requested to turn ba-.k, (after reading this wonderful suppo- 
sition of the college, as to the causes leading Harvey to speculate on the circu- 
lation to the statement he himself gives'; chap. I. p. 54 ; we shall find none of that 
lightning-like energy, which is so poetically assumed to have siezed upon the 
mind of Harvey, actually to have existed, so as to have led him instantly (suhito) 
to perceive the true route of the blood. No ! Harvey tells us, At length he did 
believe he had hit t\e nail on the head. But how tame is this, to the vivid state- 
ment of Piccolhomini, who, on the discovery of the valves of the veins was so 
excited, as nearly to fall into an ecstacy ! Piccolhomini was really in earnest 
Harvey is but his simple follower ! why the award was so readily granted by the 
college, without an apparent dissenting voice, if such was the case, it is impossible 
to determine. 


would find every thing in it that the words express, and more ; 
but proceeding from a man so little qualified to think, as it 
would seem they consider Galen; the plain meaning must be 
set aside, and a new version of anastomotic conjunction be thus 
ascribed to Harvey ; who, in his first edition at least, gives no 
explanation of his ideas on the subject. I have before adverted 
to this, when noticing the 7th chapter, wherein, speaking of the 
valves of the heart, he refers to Galen's 6th book, ch. 10. de 
usu partium, and gives a long quotation, of which the few words 
above, constitute a part. I may here moreover remark, that in 
Dr. James de Back's (of Rotterdam) " Discourse of the Heart," 
and containing a warm "defence of Harvey's circulation," 
Lond. 1673, at p. 87, when impugning the opponents of his 
system ; we find some extremely curious confessions, which 
throw some shade upon his candour ; and in part, set at naught 
the explanation above quoted from the College in his behalf, as 
to anastomosis. In the part alluded to, de Back thus upholds 
Harvey's opinion against that of Descartes. " He (that is, 
Descartes) says, that the commendation of this invention, 
(anastomoses) is to be ascribed to an English physician, which 
broke that ice, to wit, resolved that doubt, why the veins are not 
emptied, and the arteries not burst, since all the blood which 
passes the heart, flows out of these into them." — "It is true 
indeed, (continues de Back,) that venerable Dr. Harvey, endea- 
vouring to render the tenent of the circulation of the blood 
more possible and plain to the minds of those that were averse 
from it, (because some, as he says, believe nothing but what 
they have an authority for,) brings that place of Galen, (de usu 
partium, 6. cap. 10,) where he says, that there is a mutual anas- 
tomosis in all, and an interchangeable opening betwixt the 
veins and arteries, where they touch." I have more than once 
referred to this quotation from Galen by Harvey, and need not 
repeat what I have before said. But the reader must not be 
deprived of the confession of de Back (I will not say) in favour 
of Harvey; because it places him in rather an unenviable 
position, which assuredly was not intended by his panegyrist. 
" But the venerable man (Harvey) cites that place only as it 
may further his purpose, though it be his intention, that the 


blood passes through the habit of the body; and not without 
reason, since nutrition is performed in manner aforesaid." We 
cannot hesitate, then, to admit with his warm adherent de Back, 
that Harvey merely " cites the place, only as it may further his 
purpose ;" and hence it would seem to follow, that he makes a 
convenient stepping-stone of Galen, when he deems him useful ; 
but brings none of those numerous references forward, which 
might illustrate and support his claim to a knowledge of the 
circulation, altogether or in part. 

In drawing the comparison between the opinions of Harvey 
and Descartes, relating to the anastomosis of the vessels, some 
may possibly allow the advantage to the latter. After giving 
some of his own ideas of these passages of the blood through the 
most hidden recesses, &c, by means of pores, de Back proceeds 
to say, " The most famous man, Descartes, makes these anasto- 
moses so necessary, that by them he thinks the way is only open 
to the circulation of the blood, yea, so manifest and patent will 
he have them to be, that that which out of the arteries through 
their extremities does flow into the veins, suffers, as he says, no 
change ;" &c. It may be wondered, possibly, that as so few 
medical men have been mentioned by Harvey and his advocates, 
how it happened that Descartes, who was not a physician, should 
be so greatly noticed, on a subject in which, apparently, he had 
no concern ! I can answer this only by a surmise. It has, in 
an early part of this treatise been already noticed, that V. F. 
Plempius is stated by Dr. Z. Wood, to have changed his opinions 
from the "persuasive and forcible reasons" of Harvey. Now, it 
is not unlikely, that such a remark might induce a reader to look 
into Plempius; in doing which, he would soon discover that 
Plempius holds a long correspondence with Descartes, relative 
to many of these very particulars; but as Descartes differs 
considerably from Plempius, and consequently from Harvey, 
de Back takes a politic step in prepossessing thus his readers in 
favour of Harvey, before he should take up the other. See 
Plemp., Lib. 2. cap. 5. p. 170, et seq. In these letters, dated 
1638 ; of course, ten years posterior to Harvey's work, is to be 
found a rude sketch of the attempt of Galen to introduce a hollow 
tube into the artery; as has been before noticed, on account of 


the strange and unaccountable tergiversation of Harvey, as I 
think was clearly demonstrated. 

I proceed now to the next, or 10th Chapter, headed as follows: 
" The first supposition concerning the quantity of the blood which 
passes through from the veins into the arteries, and that there is 
a circulation of the blood, is vindicated from objections, and fur- 
ther confirmed by experiments." 

This chapter is pretty generally satisfactory; some very in- 
teresting experiments are referred to, which are, perhaps, ex- 
clusively his own; and are of a nature to force conviction of 
the truth of the general proposition, and the outline of the 
general circulation. They are, in fact, worthy of all praise ; 
they lead Harvey to the conclusion, that " there are two sorts 
of death, extinction by reason of defect ; and suffocation by too 
great quantity. 

The 11/A Chapter is taken up with the consideration and 
proof of his second supposition, viz., " That the blood is dnven 
into every member and part, and enters by the pulse of the arte- 
ries ; and that in far greater abundance than is necessary for 
nourishment, or than the whole mass is able to furnish." 

Harvey here attempts to show, by sundry experiments, made 
with ligatures of different degrees of force, " that the arteries are 
vessels carrying the blood from the heart, and the veins the 
vessels and ways by which it is returned to the heart itself." 

These experiments are equally interesting and satisfactory, as 
well as his general remarks, except as regards the pulsation of 
the arteries, wherein he seems to differ somewhat from his 
former declaration, " that it depends solely on the impulsion 
given to the blood by the heart." But when he adds to the 
preceding quotation, " that the blood in the members and ex- 
tremities does pass from the arteries into the veins (either me- 
diately by an anastomosis, or immediately through the porosities of 
the flesh, or both ways,) as before it did in the heart and thorax 
out of the veins into the arteries," then it would appear, that the 
same difficulties exist, as have already been noticed ; the idea of 
porosities intervening between the arteries and veins, has never 


been substantiated, although it has been continued at intervals, 
from Harvey to the present day ; and has been opposed by 
the microscopic observations of Swammerdam, Lewenhoeck, 
Ruysch, and others. Harvey, at any rate,. seems here entirely 
unsettled in his belief, whether the one or the other, or both, were 
the intermedia of communication; and I must refer the reader 
back to the extract from the college on this subject, to aid him in 
coming to a right conclusion, as to the imperfect notions he had 
conceived on the subject. We see, beyond a doubt, that, left as 
he has done it, the demonstration is altogether imperfect ; and 
merely circumstantial, whichever opinion may be advocated ; 
that is, if nothing is to be admitted that is wanting in proof. And 
we must again repeat, that the doctrine of anastomosis, as ad- 
vanced by Galen, was at least fourteen centuries old. If Galen 
is wrong as to this doctrine, Harvey cannot be right; nor has 
he in any manner improved it! and if he sustains the doctrine of 
porosities, which Galen opposes, he has not proved it. It may 
be remarked, that Galen had no doubt of the truth of the position 
he maintains; whilst Harvey seems entirely at a loss, in one 
place, to which side he should attach himself, or if he had not 
better clinch the matter, by adopting both; whilst in other 
places he firmly sustains porosities, and as firmly decries the 
anastomoses ! If thus inconsistent with himself, why should 
such inconsistency be passed by, and an exclusive claim be 
made for a discovery which he obviously left imperfect 1 The 
rest of this chapter is taken up, as stated, with the character and 
effects of ligatures; together with an explanation of those effects, 
conformably to the views of the circulation. They are interest- 
ing, and assist greatly in substantiating the doctrine; but in 
connexion with my more particular object, scarcely require to 
be noticed. I might perhaps object to some of the explanations 
given ; as at p. 68, when he assigns as the cause of fainting, on 
untying the bandage in blood-letting, " the return of cold blood to 
the heart ;" and I might again recur to the repetition of his ideas, 
" that the blood does pass out of the arteries into the veins, and 
not on the contrary; and that there is an anastomosis of the 
vessels, or that the pores of the flesh and solid parts are pervious 
to the blood;"! but it would be only an equal repetition of my 


former remarks; and I shall merely observe, that the unfortunate 
horns of this dilemma, pores and anastomosis, seem to have 
entangled and perplexed Harvey during his own life-time, and 
his professional posterity ever since ; as if to enforce a belief, 
that, as the doctrine of the vitality of the blood is a matter of 
revelation; so that mysterious union, by which it is possessed of 
this wonderful accompaniment, is intended still to remain a 
mystery ; by our inability to detect the real character of that 
connexion, which must necessarily exist between the arteries 
and veins! 

The 12th chapter is headed, " That there is a circulation of 
the blood, from the confirmation of the second supposition" This, 
it will be remembered, is, that " continually, duely, and without 
cease, the blood is driven into every member and part, and 
enters by the pulse of the arteries : and that in far greater abun- 
dance than is necessary for nourishment, or than the whole 
mass is able to furnish." All which, in like manner, is chiefly 
dependent on the same proof for its elucidation, which is derived 
from ligatures. It is therefore scarcely necessary to dwell on 
this chapter. I shall only remark, that here, p. 72. we find, 
again, Harvey's opinion laid down, that "the force and impulsion 
of the blood is only derived from the heart." This was Galen's 
opinion, and if so, cannot be considered as one of the new and 
unheard of things, which the former adverts to. What he ex- 
actly means to convey to the reader, in the very next sentence, 
a part of which reads thus, " and the arteries at no time receive 
blood out of the veins, unless it be out of the left ventricle of the 
heart," I do not exactly comprehend, seeing that he thus passes 
by the right ventricle of the heart, and the pulmonary passage. 
It is at least, obscure. A recurrence to his calculation of the 
amount of blood passing in a definite time, assists him in the 
further consideration of this chapter. It is probable that all 
may not coincide with him in ascribing to fear, (" by which the 
heart do beat more faintly,") the diminished flow of blood ; or 
that " after the same manner does it come to pass, that women's 
flowers and all other fluxes of blood are stopped." Not being 
absolutely connected with the object of my pursuit, I shall quit 
the subject, and proceed to the next chapter. 


The 13th Chapter informs us that " The third supposition is 

confirmed, and that there is a circulation of the blood from the 

third supposition." Which is, "that the veins themselves do 

perpetually bring back this blood into the mansion of the heart ;" 

and hence that a circular motion is made by it. This proposition 

appears to be of the greatest importance to him : this idea of a 

circular motion (if not a misnomer) seems, indeed, the very gist 

of all his remarks, to which they all tend ; and which would 

almost seem to be the pith and marrow of the " new and unheard 

of things," to which he had before referred : and, as no one 

before him had actually employed the term of circular motion 

to the circulation, however they might have understood its route ; 

unquestionably, Harvey (so far as the term extends, and may 

be considered either correct or judicious) must be entitled to all 

the advantage it can possibly afford him! As I observed, it 

appears to supersede both the preceding propositions; as it 

enables him to explain his ideas, beyond what he hitherto had 

done, relative to " the quantity of blood that passes through the 

lungs and heart in the centre of the body, and likewise from the 

arteries into the veins and habit of the body." In this chapter 

he points out the way in which the circulation is completed, by 

the " blood flowing back from the extremities, through the veins, 

into the heart, and how the veins are the vessels that carry it 

from the extremities to the centre." All which, he thinks 

sufficiently credible, and considers them much strengthened by 

" the portals which are found in the concavities of the veins, 

their use, and from ocular experiments." 

It has already been shown that Harvey does not pretend to 
claim the discovery of the valves; those of the heart having 
been known not only to Galen, but even to Aristotle and Hippo- 
crates ; whilst those of the veins, he here immediately ascribes 
to his preceptor Fab. ab Aquapendente, or to Sylvius, if Riolan 
was right. This part of the appendage to his " circular motion" 
of the blood, constitutes, therefore, no portion of the "new and un- 
heard of things" which, even at the printing of his book in 1628, or 
twelve years after their first public promulgation, led him to ap- 
prehend mischief to himself, and that they would set every "man 
almost," like an Ishmael, against him ! Can the reader form a judg- 
ment, which of his new and unheard of things were calculated 


in the remotest degree to produce such a catastrophe in the pur- 
suit of science ? Cannot a reason be surmised for this apprehen- 
sion on his part, in the utter contempt with which he treats 
some of his opponents ; and the slight merit ascribed by him to 
any; as well as in his total omission of many of his predecessors, 
whose writings ought to have been duly noticed ! The candid 
and unbiassed reader must determiiie how far I have succeeded 
in proving that Piccolhomini was among (if not) the first who 
discovered the valves and pointed out their use. If the reader 
should decide that, as he, Harvey, admits he did not discover 
the valves ; and yet, that he considered the passage of the blood 
back, through the veins, to be rendered " plain enough from the 
portals found in the veins," let me ask him, whether a man who 
was so excited at seeing them, as nearly to fall into an ecstacy, 
(ita excitavit, ut fere in exstasin ageret) was less likely to have 
a suspicion of their use, than one, who, like Harvey, has told 
all he has said of them in the most phlegmatic manner 1 Could 
that which was so plain to Harvey, make no impression on his 
excitable precursor ? If we admit that Harvey has more definitely 
and better demonstrated their use, (which we may have rendered 
doubtful ;) surely, this cannot give him a claim to either a per- 
fect explanation of the circulation, whether particularly, or 
generally considered ; and still less to that of the sole discoverer ! 
Is the pioneer not a discoverer, or at least deserving of some 
merit, if any there be, because he is deficient in the opportunity 
or means of a more successful follower 1 or, is his very name to 
be forgotten, although clearing away the rubbish of the wilder- 
ness for his successor ? But who, of all these pioneers, has he 
mentioned or omitted, and to what extent 1 And now, let us follow 
him, and see what use he ascribes to the valves ; and then balance 
between it, and that which he admits had been hinted at before 
him ! If their deficiencies are to exclude them from a participa- 
tion in the honour of the discovery ; surely, a deficiency or im- 
perfection on the part of Harvey, ought to be equally fatal to 
his claim.— Now, he says, (p. 77,) that, 

"The portals were made, (omnino) lest the blood should move from the 
greater veins into the lesser, and tear or swell them ; and that it should 
not go from the centre of the body to the extremities, but rather from the 



extremities to the centre. Therefore by this motion the small portals are 
easily shut; and hinder any thing which is contrary to them ; for they are 
so placed and ordained, that if any thing should not be sufficiently hindered 
in the passage by the horns of the foremost, but should escape as it were 
through a chinck, the convexity or vault of the next might receive it, and so 
hinder it from passing any further." 

From this quotation, it would seem to me, that Harvey's ideas 
of the use of the valves are infinitely less expanded than those 
of Piccolhomini ! In fact, they resolve themselves principally into 
that of presenting an obstacle to the forward passage towards 
the heart, of "any thing which is contrary to themP What 
edition Dr. Wood employed in his translation, as above given, 
I know not : he must have been, at any rate, very ignorant, or 
extremely inattentive, as I have already pointed out in several 
instances; and I am therefore disposed to think he has here 
given a wrong translation, on which, nevertheless, my observa- 
tions are founded ; and the reason I continue them, even under 
the conviction I have, is for the purpose of again enforcing the 
necessity of referring to the originals, in all cases when possible. 
Now, the part above translated by Wood, " therefore by this 
motion the small portals are easily shut ; and hinder any thing 
which is contrary to them," stands thus in my Glasgow edition, 
and in that of the College, respectively : " Ita enim huic motui 
valvulae tenues facile occluduntur, contrarium moturn omnino sup- 
primentes." Gl — " Ita huic motui valvula? tenues facile reclu- 
duntur, contrarium omnino supprimunt." Lond. — Now, whether 
Wood's translation is from Harvey's first, or any subsequent 
edition, and will bear the construction he gives, I know not : but 
the above Latin extracts differ, as we perceive, and one of them 
may, though not probably intended, afford some ground for Dr. 
Wood. The reader will therefore recollect, that the remarks I 
here make are altogether dependent on the possibility of Wood 
being correct ; and are to be received for merely what they are 
worth in such a connexion. I repeat, then, that Harvey's 
notions of the use of the valves are limited and scarcely pro- 
bable, when he refers, 'principally, to their presenting an obstacle 
to " any thing that is contrary to them." Contrary to what ? 
Is it to the valves? What harm would they receive? And if 


we suppose, with Harvey, that this " thing," whatever it might 
be, (ut si quid per cornua. L. ut quidquid. Glasg.) had actually 
escaped detention by the horns of the foremost, why should it 
not as likely escape the others, which are growing progressively 
larger? This is surely a rude conception of their importance to 
the system ; for what, except blood, do we ever find in the veins, 
to be thus obstructed by this valvular appendage 1 And how 
could the blood itself, as he suggests, even if no valves existed, 
move in a retrograde manner, from the greater into the smaller 
veins, whilst these last were kept continually filled, by a vis a 
tergo ? Nay, even admitting it to be the case, on what principle 
could Harvey suppose this ideal movement of the blood, from 
the greater into the lesser veins, should tear or swell them, con- 
sidering the numerous intercommunications by anastomosis of 
the vessels themselves ? The whole, to me, seems at best a mere 
gratuitous assumption on his part, which will not bear a closer 
examination than some of those to which he makes an imperfect 
reference, from not mentioning the names of the individuals, 
whose opinions he very unceremoniously attempts to set down ! 
Why has Harvey not afforded us the opportunity fairly, of esti- 
mating the force of his opposition, by directly referring to the 
individuals he has in view, and particularly pointing out the part 
of their writings ? Who can tell from his own words whom he 
means ? or, if perchance we may hazard a conjecture, to what 
part of the works of an uncertain author shall we have recourse? 
Why, I repeat, is this illiberal plan pursued by Harvey? Surely, 
all his opponents were not Momes and Detractors ! and, in a 
proposition of such importance, by which, from his own state- 
ment, " new and unheard of things" were to be announced to the 
medical republic, could he justly imagine that all his assertions 
were to be adopted without the slightest investigation or objec- 
tion on the part of others ? Was this " dogma fidei medicorum," 
as Pitcairn expresses it, to be unresistingly enforced; and its 
verity and novelty, or its exclusive claim by an individual, not 
to be inquired into, save under the penalty of obloquy and re- 
proach? If, from any cause, the Profession of that period thought 
it unnecessary to analyze those claims in every point of view ; 
whether convinced, without further inquiry, of what was pre- 


viously known, of the perfect and undoubted claim of Harvey ; 
or deterred, from a dread of being classed among the Momes 
and Detractors, by his caustic pen; assuredly the object of inquiry 
is of that importance, that the mere lapse of two hundred years 
cannot be considered as sufficient to preclude a renewal of the 
controversy. Galen maintained a supremacy for more than one 
thousand years, in every department of our science ; yet a judi- 
cious investigation into his claims, has (perhaps) pruned him 
down, and his pretensions, even beyond what is strictly correct. 
If it may be thought that Harvey has been wanting, in some re- 
spects, in candour to his contemporaries, as we believe the fact 
to be; there can be no great ceremony required to open and 
renew the subject of investigation on this side of the Atlantic. 
If deserving of the full honour of this great physiological dis- 
covery, his numerous adherents every where, will quickly detect 
the fallacy of these pages ; and that honour will continue to 
descend undisputed and unclouded to the latest posterity ! But, 
if what 1 claim for others is not entirely unfounded, let a just 
verdict be awarded in their behalf. I know no case recorded, 
in law or medicine, in which a close and uncompromising 
scrutiny and cross-examination is so requisite, in order to elicit 
truth ! All will agree, that if his claims are truly founded, they 
cannot suffer from such a rigid touchstone ; and that the claims 
of others cannot be improved, if error or deception forms their 
basis ! This scrutiny, it is probable, may be more appropriately 
and certainly pursued in Europe, from the greater facility of 
access to all those writings of that period, in which we are for 
the most part so defective in this section of the Globe. 

Here, on the subject of the valves, which led to these remarks, 
I must refer the reader once more to the writings of Piccolhomini, 
and especially to that part already noticed. Printing his work 
on anatomy when Harvey was only eight or ten years old, we 
must reasonably conclude, that the valves, if discovered by him, 
must have been the source of wonder and astonishment, so as, 
in his vivid description, to have " ita excitavit, ut fere in ccstasin 
ageret:" and equally, that they must have been familiarly ex- 
plained and described by him in his lectures. Compare the 
lukewarm account which Harvey gives of them, and let this 



very circumstance decide between them. The difference is as 
areat, as the statement and action of the two women in the 
judgment of Solomon. Piccolhomini, we have shown, could be 
no jealous rival of Harvey, or opponent of his popularity and 
fame, since he so long preceded him ; and was certainly of such 
high standing as a teacher, that a reference to him and to his 
writings, bearing, as they do, so closely on the subject, could 
never have discredited Harvey; whilst such total omission of 
him, strongly leads to a suspicion of the neglect being more than 
merely accidental; and cannot be overturned even by supposing 
(a thing incredible), that Harvey was absolutely ignorant of the 
man, and of his writings, although studying at Padua, so near to 
Rome; the seat of his professorial labours ! Admitting that the 
explanation of the use of the valves is imperfect in the hands of 
Piccolhomini ; the reader is requested seriously to consider 
whether a part, at least, of Harvey's explanation is not equally 
inconclusive; and likewise to reflect, whether even this imperfect 
exposition of Piccolhomini, was not the probable precursor of 
Harvey's improved elucidation 1 Such superior elucidation is 
indeed conspicuous in this chapter, in Harvey's exposition of an 
arm tied up for bleeding; and his explanatory remarks in the 
various steps of the process. As these, however, are particularly 
referred to, by letters connected with corresponding marks in 
the accompanying engravings, it would be impossible to notice 
them, unless the figures were themselves introduced. Nor in- 
deed is this by any means essential to the object in view. 

I shall, therefore, proceed to the next, or 14th Chapter, headed, 
" The conclusion of the demonstration of the circulation of the 

I have again to express my regret at the continual reference 
I am compelled to make to the same subjects : but Harvey has 
so often renewed them, that I am compelled, in obedience to the 
plan I have adopted, to follow in the course he has himself mark- 
ed out. In this chapter Harvey propounds, in the last place, his 
opinion concerning the circulation of the blood, and says that, 

" Seeing it is confirmed by reasons and ocular experiments, that the blood 
does pass through the lungs and heart by the pulse of the ventricles, and 


is driven in and sent into the whole body, and does creep into the reins and 
porosities of the flesh, and through them returns from the little veins into the 
greater, from the circumference to the centre, from whence it comes at last 
into the vena cava, and into the ear of the heart in so great abundance, with 
so great flux andreflux, from hence through the arteries thither, from thence 
through the veins, hither back again, so that it cannot be furnished by those 
things which we do take in, and in a far greater abundance than is com- 
petent for nourishment ; it must be of necessity concluded, that the blood is 
driven into a round by a circular motion in creatures, and that it moves 
perpetually ; and hence does arise the action and function of the heart, 
which by pulsation it performs ; and lastly, that the motion and pulsation of 
the heart is the only cause." 

Here, then, in a few words, the whole business is laid down, 
in plain and explicit terms. But the singularity of the explana- 
tion thus given, consists in his paradox, that the circulation and 
perpetual motion of the blood, gives rise to " the action and 
function of the heart," whilst the " motion and pulsation of the 
heart is the only cause" — of what? why, of the circular and 
perpetual motion " of the blood !" Both are alike cause and 
effect, reciprocally of each other ! will his words admit of any 
other construction? If they cannot, how stands the position, 
philosophically considered? The reader must determine for 
himself. I may further observe, that if disposed to view the 
terms he employs, unduly, that is, without considering their 
appropriate and definite connexion with other parts, we might 
readily do him (as he has done with Galen), the injustice of 
ascribing to him the idea of a mere flux and reflux of the blood, 
analogous to the tides of Euripus. Had Galen been fairly 
judged of by himself, such an opinion would never have been 
urged against him ; and I only make this observation, to point 
out how very readily errors may be heaped on individuals who 
probably in no way merited the aspersion. 

Here again, the renewed assertion of the flow of blood through 
the whole body, by " creeping into the veins and porosities of the 
flesh," requires a further attention. What Harvey intrinsically 
means by the "porositates carnis," he has not explained in his 
treatise ; but in one of his exercitations to Riolan, I have on a 
former occasion pointed out his conception of it. We must 
estimate it accordingly, either by that, or by the statement of his 


advocates; some of whom have already been pressed into the 
service, with the view of showing that, even confining our ideas 
of the vascular connexion, with Harvey, to porosities alone, no 
uniformity exists amongst its adherents ! It might not, perhaps, 
be improper to consider, what would be the probable result of 
blood, thus passing from its arterial channels into the porosities, 
or parenchymatous structure of the lungs ! Wherein may it be 
viewed as differing from simple extravasation, by which an 
engorged state of the lungs would ensue, and peripneumonia 
notha, or something like it, inevitably follow, before it could 
reach the asserted patent orifices of the veins? But could they 
remain patent, with the blood, thus extra limitcs, pressing on 
every adjoining part; and by what mechanism or structure 
could the veins effect it ? The evil is the same in character, if 
we carry this proposition to the porosities or parenchyma of any 
other part or organ. It would indeed appear, that in striving to 
evade the Galenical anastomosis between the arteries and veins, 
he has completely closed the door to any explanation of their 
junction, by an intermediate class of vessels, now known as the 
capillary link, and by most of its adherents, I believe, considered 
as nearly, if not entirely, without the range of impulse from the 
arteries, and acting by some unintelligible inherent power, by 
which the blood is received by, or penetrates the veins. A 
capillary link was indeed always maintained, but it was not 
considered as a separate one, but merely the minute, or most 
attenuated branches of the arteries, joining with the veins; the 
latter beginning, according to some writers, where first appeared 
a portal, stop or valve ; and modified in character, moreover, by 
the difference of its coats. This spontaneous continuation by 
united tubes, seems scarcely to have been dreamed of by Har- 
vey; his anastomosis seems rather a junction of the sides of 
vessels, by an opening somewhat like the ureter into the bladder, 
or the gall-duct into the intestine. If neither porosities nor anasto- 
mosis be fully adopted, in other words, if we know nothing of 
the mode of union ; and if Harvey knew as little, or less than 
Galen, on the subject; wherein has he demonstrated the true route 
of circulation ; or by what false logic can his probable, or even 
circumstantial evidence, be speciously denominated a discovery? 


With these, and other circumstances that will probably be re- 
collected and considered by the reader, we must leave this 
chapter; requesting him at the same time, to reply ingenuously 
to the question so often proposed, of what " new and unheard of 
things" he has been informed by Harvey; and why has he so 
completely failed to speak of the great hepatic or portal circula- 
tion? A circulation almost isolated, and of a character peculiarly 
its own; and bearing apparently the same affinity to the general 
circulation, that the vast and important ganglionic system of 
nerves bears to that of the cerebral organs : both separately 
independent of, and yet mutually essential to, the welfare of the 

The 15th chapter, headed thus, " The circulation of the blood 
is confirmed by probable reasons" is not exempt from those repe- 
titions and erroneous data of which I have so frequently 
complained ; but which I must nevertheless follow, as he leads 
the way. Referring to Aristotle, de Respiratione, we come to 
some luminous traits of the physiology, which the discovery of 
the circulation had unfolded in the mind of Harvey: perhaps 
they are quite as correct, nevertheless, as any now promulgated ; 
and I advert to them to show, that the mere knowledge of the 
true route (if we absolutely know it) of the circulation, no more 
mended the physiology, than it did the practice, of the day. 
But what says Harvey 1 

" Seeing death is a corruption which befalls by reason of the defect of 
heat, and all things which are hot being alive, are cold when they dye, 
there must needs be a place and beginning of heat, (as it were, a fire and 
dwelling house) by which the nursery of nature, and the first beginnings 
of inbred fire may be continued and preserved ; from whence heat and life may 
flow, as from their beginnings into all parts; whither the aliment of it 
should come, and on which all nutrition and vegetation should depend. 
And that this place is the heart, from whence is the beginning of life, I would 
have nobody to doubt." 

I must, after duly weighing the premises, express my doubt 
whether Galen, in any part of his voluminous writings, has com- 
prised so much absurdity, as Harvey has here done in so small 
a space. Will this good man's interdiction prevent us doubting 


the truth of his position, that the heart is the beginning of inbred 
fire, or animal heat? Has he not, himself, already shown, that the 
heart is not " the beginning of life," in the proof he has afforded 
of the formation of blood, prior even to that of the heart itself? 
He furnishes no proof of his affirmations, and they can scarcely 
be tolerated in the present day. His chain of proofs of a circu- 
lation, so far as this is concerned, is therefore defective. Nay, 
if he had confirmed its truth, he ascribes it to Aristotle, and can 
therefore claim no merit from it, or locate it amongst his " new 
and unheard of. things." I scarcely think that Aristotle himself, 
his predecessor by two thousand years and more, has reasoned 
so erroneously, so ridiculously, on the subject of animal heat, 
and its evidences, as Harvey does, in this chapter: thus, he 
almost immediately subjoins to the preceding extract, that a 
motion was required to the blood, that it might return again to 
the heart, lest, 

" Being sent far away into the outward parts of the body, from its own 
fountain, it would congeal and be immoveable,'''' 

And which, indeed, would probably be the fact, if his affirma- 
tion was true, of its escaping from the arteries into the porosities 
of the flesh : and, 

" Seeing therefore, that the blood, staying in the outward parts is congealed 
by the cold of the extremities, and of the ambient air, and is destitute of spirits, 
as it is in dead things, it was needful it should resume and redintegrate, by 
its return again, as well heats, as spirits, and indeed its own preservation, 
from its own fountain and beginning." 

What claim has Harvey to throw a stone at Galen, respecting 
his asserted ideas of a spirit in the blood, when we thus see him 
perpetually enforcing his belief of the same, so far as words have 
meaning ? Can that be right in Harvey, which he himself 
reproves in another? or, having thus reproved him, is he himselt 
not ten-fold more reprehensible ? 1 do not believe Galen has, 
any where, so egregiously committed himself (although he 
believed the blood to be the vehicle by which animal heat was 
conveyed to every part) as to talk of the blood, " staying in the 
outward parts, and congealing there by the cold of the extre- 
mities, and of the ambient air!" Will any of Harvey's warmest 



advocates maintain such views as are above given, in all their 
details? or how would that venerable man, himself, be now 
received, if standing on the spot of his former eminence, and 
promulgating to the present College of Physicians his singular 
propositions 1 — His views respecting the circulation, then, if 
correct in every particular, and if admitted fully to be his own ; 
have not elucidated those functions, for which that singular 
and perpetual process of the animal economy seems to have 
been intended. To throw those views on Aristotle, since he 
refers them to him, will scarcely answer : if they are Aristotle's, 
he completely adopts them ; and since he has been shown to 
claim and retain many particulars that were known previously 
to others ; there can be no difficulty in allowing him all the 
honour which these physiological opinions can confer upon him. 
He tries to strengthen these views, by observations or com- 
ments not more worthy of regard ; but all evincing, how little 
physiological benefit the merely pointing out the route of circula- 
tion with more precision, actually conferred upon him ! thus, he 
talks of that exterior cold that chills the extremities, causing 
them to look blue, 

" Like those of dead men, because the blood stands still in them, (as in 
carkesses in those parts which are down tending) whence it comes that the 
members are numbed, and hardly moveable," &c. 

Is such the physiology of the present day ? are these dogmas 
to be received, because they bear the impress of Harvey's pen ? 
But let us hear the luminous proofs and illustrations that 
immediately follow ! 

"They could, says he, certainly by no means, (especially so soon,) 
recover heat, and colour, and life, unless they were by a new original, a 
flux, and appulsion of heat, again cherished. For how can they attract, in 
whom heat and life are almost extinct 1 or those that have their passages 
condensed and stopped with congealed blood, how could they receive the 
coming nourishment and blood, unless they did dismiss that, which they 
before contained, and unless the heart were really that beginning from 
whence heat and life, (as Arist. Resp. 2.) and from whence new blood being 
passed through the arteries imbued with spirit, that which is enfeebled arid 
chilled, might be driven out, and all the parts might redintegrate their 
languishing heat and vital nourishment almost extinct." 


It is surely unnecessary to add more, with the intent of 
showing that, however Harvey might justly boast (dedicatory 
epistle) that he " did not profess to learn and teach anatomy, 
from the axioms of philosophers, but from dissections, and from 
the fabric of nature ;" it would not have been amiss, if he had 
benefited even by the physiology of Galen, to improve his own. 
If more proof is, however, required, it presents itself in the next 
page, in relation to the concoction and distribution of nourish- 
ment ; which, as 

"All creatures live by nourishment, inwardly concocted, it is necessary 
that the concoction and distribution be perfect, and for that cause, the 
place and receptacle where the nourishment is perfected, and from whence it is 
derived to every member. But this place is the heart, since it alone of all 
the parts, (though it has for its private use the coronal vein and artery,) 
does contain in its concavities, as in cisterns, or a cellar, (to wit, ears or 
ventricles,) blood for the public use of the body ; but the rest of the parts 
have it only in vessels for their own behoof, and for private use." 

Here we must again ask, if present physiology teaches the 
heart to be the place and receptacle where the nourishment is 
perfected ? and whether, with all his knowledge of the circula- 
tion, Harvey possessed any correct views of the nature and 
function of respiration, of animal heat, or of the concoction of 
nourishment ? Has he not also been guilty of some ambiguity, 
to say the least of it, in affirming the blood to be squeezed out of 
the capillary veins into the little branches, and from thence into 
the greater, by the motion of the members, and muscles; since the 
motion of the blood had before been solely ascribed to the im- 
pulse of the heart alone 1 Admitting even that the power of the 
heart was capable of driving the blood out of the arteries into 
the porosities of the flesh; he has no where explained by what 
subsequent power, it becomes afterwards enabled to reach the 

But we proceed to the consideration of the 16th Chapter, 
which is thus headed : " The circulation of the blood proved by 

To much of this chapter, there can, perhaps be but little ob- 
jection. Indeed, the consequences are but the natural result of 


the premises adopted. It may, however, be remarked, that this 
chapter places Harvey in the light of a powerful friend and ad- 
vocate of the doctrines of Humoralism. This pathology, so 
strongly, adopted by Hippocrates and Galen, who are denied to 
have had a knowledge of the circulation of the blood ; is now 
opposed by those who think they are fully masters of it, in every 
particular. Their partial estimate of this important fluid would 
almost seem to imply, that they regarded it as of but little actual 
importance in the animal economy ; and it might be just as well 
to regard it as dead matter merely, since they generally deny it 
to be acted on by morbid or therapasial agencies, which, accord- 
ing to them, can never reach the blood, unchanged or undigested ! 
Be this, however, as it may, it must be admitted that in this 
chapter, Harvey has evinced much physiological and pathologi- 
cal absurdity, showing still more clearly that the mere route of 
the blood, simply considered in itself; that is, the circulation in 
its simplest aspect; had not much enlightened him, as to the 
important connexions it maintained with every part of the body; 
nor unfolded to his view any great superiority in his physiology 
or pathology, beyond that of antecedent ages. Few would 
now, it is presumable, give the priority of research to Harvey ; 
or regard him as the founder of a new and improved doctrine in 
those branches of medical science ; let his other writings de- 
termine, not this only, but likewise his practical attainments, in 
order to judge whether, in any of them, he rose above the com- 
mon ranks of the profession. Even in his justly celebrated 
treatise on Generation, &c, it will be found that much of it 
was really established before he commenced his pursuit, not only 
by his master, Aquapendente, but even by Hippocrates and 

Although erroneous in his explanation, we find him attempting 
his proof of the heading of this chapter, by means of the ender- 
mic application of remedies ; which, he says, when outwardly 
applied, use their force within, as colocynth, aloes, garlic, can- 
tharides, adding, that, 

"From hence it is constantly averred, perchance not without cause, that 
the veins, through their orifices, draw a little of those things which are 
outwardly applied, and carry it in with the blood, after the same manner as 


those in the mesenterie do suck the chylus out of the intestines, and carry 
it to the liver, together with the blood." 

How much of this speculative explanation will be acceded to, 
by Harvey's advocates at the present period, it would be in- 
teresting to know ; as well as many other particulars, equally 
well illustrated in his writings. 

A little further in this chapter, we reach the part I formerly 
adverted to, wherein he falls completely into the very same error 
he so sedulously points to in Galen. I allude to that in which he 
considers Galen as maintaining the motion of the blood up and 
down in the same channel, like the tides of "Euripus reciprocating 
its motion again and again, hither and thither." If words have 
any meaning, I think the following will sufficiently prove this : 
now, since Harvey quotes the passage from Galen, in order to 
prove his want of knowledge of the circulation; we might 
equally quote the one in question, for a like purpose, if he had 
not, elsewhere, so fully proved its existence; and I believe, if 
Galen should ever be invested in the fair dress of an English 
translation, very many parts would go far to demonstrate, that 
this isolated passage of the Euripean tide cannot disprove it, 
any more than the following disproves that of Harvey. In fact, 
the ideas conveyed by Harvey's express language, would seem 
to be precisely what he before so abundantly criticises in the 
immortal Galen : viz., that in the same stem or branch' of the 
capillary veins, there are two opposite motions, one of the chyle 
upwards, and another of the blood downwards ; and that this is 
done by a main providence of nature. But how the chyle gets 
into the capillary veins, he no where points out. If he could only 
have satisfied us as to this first step of this very singular assertion, 
in a physiological point of connexion with his details of the cir- 
culation, I should not think much of then adopting the residuary 
portion, viz., that of the two opposing currents in the same vessel ; 
even although more absurd than that of the tides of Euripus ; 
which, though running backwards and forwards, yet, they did this 
at different times, and not at one and the same moment. If then 
I am correct in the meaning of the quotation, in which I think it 
will strictly bear me out; then, I must truly think, that the 
asserted Galenical or Aristotelian tides of Euripus, ought for 


ever, to yield the palm of absurdity to the superior and more 
glorious one of Harveian discovery ! We may in addition re- 
mark, that in what is precedingly stated by Harvey, of the " chy lus 
sucked out of the intestines" by the veins, we are warranted in 
believing, that he imagined this very first step of sanguification 
and circulation was effected by veins, and not by lacteals ; for 
he adds, that they " carry it to the liver with the bloody ! If he 
knew no better than this, although the lacteals were then, un- 
questionably, familiar to anatomists; how deficient does this 
great discoverer of the circulation appear, on points of quite as 
much importance! Worse and worse, in fact, the further we 
advance, and which leads us to the full quotation I have kept in 
view. Whoever adopts his opinions, therein expressed, no doubt 
will fully ascribe to him the whole and undivided discovery of the 
circulation ! yet it may possibly cause some, at least, to hesitate, 
who may never have seen or read the writings of Harvey. 

" In the mesenterie likewise, the blood entering into the cceliac arterie, 
the upper and nether mesenteries, goes forward to the intestines ; by which, 
together with the chylus attracted by the veins, it returns through the many 
branches of them into the porta of the liver, and through it into the vena 
cava ; (qu 1 do not the extremities of the portal veins empty into the hepatic 
veins, before reaching the cava?) so it comes to pass, that the blood in these 
veins is imbued with the same colour and consistence, as in the rest, other- 
wise than many believe : for we must needs believe, that it very fitly and 
probably comes to pass, in the stem or branch of the capular (capillary) veins, 
that there are two motions, one of the chylus upwards, another of the blood 
downwards ,•" 

It well became Harvey to criticise Galen on a somewhat sup- 
posed similar occasion, viz., for his idea of blood, and vapour or 
spirit, being contained in the same vessel : he seems of the meta- 
physical school of the Hudibrastic philosophers, that 

" One way they free will disavow, 
Another, nothing else allow." 

" But, continues Harvey, is not this done by a main providence of 
nature] For if the raw chylus should be mixed with the concocted blood in 
equal proportions, no concoction, transmutation, or sanguification should 
from thence arise," &c. " So in the meseraic veins, being dissected, there 
is found a chylus, not the chylus and blood apart, but mixed, and the same 



both in colour and consistence to the sense, as appears in the rest of the 
veins; in which notwithstanding, because there is something of the chylus 
unconcocted, although insensible, nature hath placed the liver; in the 
meanders or crooks of which, it is delayed, and receives a fuller transmu- 
tation, lest, coming too soon raw to the heart, it should overwhelm the be- 
ginning of life." 

From this, it would appear, that Harvey was unacquainted 
with the mode of entry of the chyle to the blood ; and that he 
was even an adherent to the Galenical doctrines of hepatic san- 
guification ; although we shall shortly show him to be, as indeed 
has already been done, altogether opposed to it ; so that, which 
he really accredited must, in a great measure, be left to con- 

That Harvey has justly appreciated the immense importance 
of the blood, is no where more conspicuous than in this chapter, 
when adverting to observations to be given, and inquiries to be 
made " concerning the forming of births," and the reason of one 
part being the cause of another; 

"And many things likewise concerning the heart, as why (Aristotle, lib. 
3. de part. Animal.) it was made the first consistent, and seems to have in 
it, life, motion and sense, before any thing of the rest of the body be per- 
fected : and likewise of the blood, why before all things, and how it has in 
it the beginning of life, and of the creature ; why it requires to be moved 
and driven up and down ; and then for what cause the heart seems to have 
been made." 

In this quotation, we must perceive, that if the blood is created 
before all things, and moves, even before vascularity is regularly 
completed, by which its circulation could be accomplished ; this 
motion, at that early period of foetal existence can be no more 
than a mere flux and reflux, and consequently resembling the 
tides of the Euripus. Imperfect as this is, it must still be adequate, 
by some means, inappreciable to us, to promote the growth 
of the different parts, and thus advance them to their higher 
destiny, with a full perfection of organic developement ; and in 
all this, it would be difficult to establish, that either porosities or 
anastomoses bore a part. Not far from the above quotation, we 
find Harvey thus condensing all his expectations as to the influ- 
ence of this, his assumed discovery of the circulation, 


"in all parts of physick, physiological, pathological, semeiotick, thera- 
peutick, when I do consider with myself how many questions may be deter- 
mined, this truth and light being given ; how many doubts may be solved, 
how many obscure things made clear, I rind a most large field, where I might 
run out so far, and enlarge myself so much, that it would not only swell 
into a great volume, which is not my intention, but even my life time 
would be too short to make an end of it." 

If we may judge of what we have thus lost, by what appears 
in his pages, perhaps many may think, that as regret is unavail- 
ing, so it may be also unnecessary: yet it would have been 
gratifying to peruse a complete treatise of Harvey on these 
" parts of physic" respectively, even if the loss may be no ways 
overwhelming. And let every medical man, here, answer truly*, 
on his professional integrity, what physiological, pathological, 
semeiotic or therapeutic truth, has Harvey elicited by his grand 
discovery, so far as he has entered on any of these topics? 
How many doubts has he actually solved? How many obscure 
things, made clear? And let him also accurately determine, 
which are the " new and unheard of things" that he has really 
presented to our view. Having done this, then perhaps he may 
be esteemed a fair and impartial judge of Harvey's real claim 
to the discovery of the circulation, either partially or completely; 
and how far he is entitled to that full blaze of glory, which for 
more than two centuries has enveloped him ; whilst scarcely the 
slightest ray has been reflected from it to any other individual ! 
If a fair and a judicious examination of the works of Galen has 
divested him of a supremacy in every branch of medical science, 
which he held during nearly, if not more, than ten centuries ; 
surely there can be no impropriety in scrutinizing as severely, 
but truly, the claims of Harvey ; and in divesting him of that 
portion of his honours, to which he may be found unentitled ; 
and which a partial examination of his claims could alone have 
given him. His anatomy, physiology, and pathology, so far as 
we can judge by his writings, are imperfect, and unproved in 
many particulars ; and, as before observed, all alike, tend to 
prove that a knowledge of the mere route of circulation, if fully 
shown to belong to him alone, was of comparatively little ad- 
vantage in his hands. The correctness of these remarks, are 


however, to be estimated by others. I proceed to consider the 
17th or last chapter of his treatise. 

In this, he attempts to show, that the " motion and circulation 
of the blood is confirmed by those things which appear in the heart, 
and from those things that appear in anatomical dissection.'''' 

Contradiction and absurdity are apparent in many of the state- 
ments of this great man. Thus, he says, 

"I do not find the heart in all creatures to be a distinct and separate part; 
for some, as you would say plant-animals (zoophyta sive plant-animalia) 
have no heart; colder creatures of a softer make, and of a kind of simi- 
lary constitution ; such as are palmer worms and (lumbricorum, translated 
snails, by Wood) earth-worms, and very many things which are ingendered 
of putrefaction (quae ex putredine oriuntur!) and keep not a species, have 
no heart, as needing no impulsor to drive the nutriment into the extremities:" 

Is this so ? Have the animals mentioned no heart ? And do 
they require no circulation? for if they have none, it might be 
legitimately regarded as of minor importance in the higher 
orders ; and its boasted discovery might sink into insignificance. 
Are many things (plurima) ingendered of putrefaction ? But to 
proceed from bad to worse ! 

" For they have a body (connatum etunum, absque membris, indistinctum 
habent) connate and of one piece, and indistinct without members; so that 
by the contraction and returning of their whole body, they take in, expel, 
move and remove the nourishment, being called plant-animals ; such as are 
oysters, mussles, sponges, and all sorts of zoophyts, have no heart; for 
instead thereof they use their whole body, and this whole creature, is as a 

Surely Harvey depended on others on some occasions, when 
his own eyes might have better served him. Is it possible that 
comparative anatomy was at so low an ebb in his time, that he 
knew not that the oyster has a heart, and that a very conspi- 
cuous' one, which was so ably demonstrated and delineated by 
Willis, a few years subsequently? Are the animals he men- 
tions indistinct, and without members ? and is it by mere 
" contraction and returning (relaxatione) of their whole body," 
that they take in and remove their nourishment? or do they, 
from want of a heart, use their whole body as such ? It might 
be well, for Harvey's honour, to explain, if possible, these and 



other difficulties in his writings ; which indeed ought never to have 
appeared, and never would have appeared, had he comprehended 
that discovery, the merit of which he exclusively claims! Where- 
in, in the above extracts, are the evidences of his learning anatomy 
from dissections and from the fabric of nature 1 as he assures his 
fellow-members of the college, in his dedicatory epistle ! where 
the evidence of a profound physiologist ? In maintaining the 
doctrine of putrefactive generation, (spontaneous we presume,) 
who will now uphold him 1 I do not at this moment recollect, 
whether this doctrine found an advocate in Galen ; but rather 
believe not; because, whenever Harvey could, he seems to 
have had no scruple in going directly in opposition to him; of 
which a few instances are pointed out. And yet, with the con- 
junction of such error and ignorance, a few well contrived 
experiments, although not all new, have raised his name to the 
summit of the Temple of Medicine ; whilst numbers, equal, or 
superior to him, are scarcely known even at its portals ! In a 
verdict of such importance, the professional dignity and its 
justice seems to have been usurped by a very limited number of 
individuals, compared to the vast number, who then, and since, 
have yielded to their clamorous award, with scarcely the 
slightest knowledge of Harvey's writings, or of those who pre- 
ceded him. Even now, I ask each reader, in perusing these 
lines, truly to reply, Have you, during your medical career, ever 
looked into the treatise that has immortalized his name? If 
not, your approval of his claim depends on tradition alone, in 
which your judgment has no part. It is incumbent on all to 
read him, as well as those who preceded, or were contempo- 
raries, and who have advocated or opposed his claim ; before 
they can deliberately and conscientiously declare themselves to 
be free from that prejudice, which an early bias had given in 
his behalf. Then, and then only, do I believe a just verdict may 
be looked for, in which all might reasonably confide: for I 
cannot think, that the elucidations of Harvey, if now first pre- 
sented, and accompanied by the preparatory steps of so many 
of his learned predecessors ; would produce that enthusiastic 
deference to his claim, and to which he is only partially 


In this chapter we have further evidence of his having 
employed the " perspective glass," or microscope ; an advantage 
unknown to his predecessors : and if, by its employment, he 
supposed he saw the pores, of which he has made such use, it is 
obvious, that it is not sustained either by Lewenhoeck or Ruysch, 
who certainly were not less expert than himself, and that with 
instruments of far improved structure. If the discovery of the 
circulation in Harvey's hands, led to no greater improvement 
in physiology than his writings imply, we must be constrained 
to believe, that simply considered, it was of but trifling import- 
ance. Will any one, who has perused the writings of each, 
propose Harvey, in connexion with any branch of medical 
science, as in any respect equal to, not to say superior, to 
Galen 1 we doubt it. And if Galen knew not the correct route 
of the blood, yet in practice, physiology, or pathology, has 
seldom or ever been surpassed ; have we not a right to 
conclude, in opposition to all that is so commonly affirmed, that 
a mere knowledge of the route of the circulation has added 
but little to medical perfection 1 

In p. 94 he says, that 

"In those that have no blood and are colder, as in snails, shell-fish, crust- 
ed-shrimps, and the like (sed in exanguibus et frigidioribus quibusdam, 
ut cochleis, conchis, squillis crustatis, et sirailibus omnibus inest pulsans 
particula, quasi vesicula quaedam vel auricula sine corde; &c. Glasg. Ed. 
1751. p. 147. — Sed in exsanguibus et frigidioribus quibusdam, ut cochleis, 
conchis, squillis, crustatis, his omnibus inest pulsans particula, quasi, 
etc. Lond. Ed. 4to. 1766, p. 77.) there is a little part which beats, (like 
a little bladder, or an ear,) without a heart, making its contraction and pulse 
seldomer," &c. (-J7* Note above, the difference of the two Latin editions.) 

Here we see that several animals are called exsanguineous, 
which undoubtedly have blood, although not red; but he has not 
thus limited his expressions. And soon after, speaking of other 
" creatures who have blood, (' ut ranis, testudinibus, serpentibus, 
hirundinibus,') as frogs, snails, serpents, swallows," we find the 
translation infinitely removed from the original, in which the 
snail is not mentioned ! Stating here, however, that " in creatures 
which are a little bigger, and hotter, as having blood in them, 
there is an impulsion of the nutriment required, and such a one 


perchance as is endowed with more force ; therefore in fishes, 
serpents, snakes, snails (not in the original !), frogs, and others of 
the like nature, there is both one car, and one ventricle of the 
heart allotted, whence rises that most true axiom of Aristotle 
(de part. Animal. 3.) that no creature having blood, does want 
a heart, by the impulsion of which it is made stronger, and more 
robust ; and the nutriment is not only stirred up and down by 
the ear, but likewise is thrust out further, and more swiftly." 
What was his absolute idea of the value and nature of the cir- 
culation, beyond the proof of its actual existence, may admit of 
doubt, from the above office given to the ear of the heart, as 
well as from other passages; and of which the following is 
evidence, from the same page, viz. ; 

" Moreover, because that more perfect creatures need more perfect aliment, 
and a more abundant native heat, that the nutriment of them may be con- 
cocted, and acquire a further perfection, it was Jit that these creatures 
should have lungs, and another ventricle, which should drive the nutriment 
through them !" 

If ridicule were always the test of truth, here is ample room for 
its proof; but it is too serious, when we regard the subject, as one 
by which an idol in medicine has been elevated and worshipped 
for more than tw T o hundred years. Had Harvey written in the 
English language at first, by which his countrymen might have 
been led to read him generally, and not merely receive all their 
knowledge of him by tradition, since few will look into the 
original Latin ; I feel persuaded, that such homage never would 
have been paid to him : it is not very different from that which 
the Grand Lama receives from his devoted followers; and, pro- 
bably will be hereafter acknowledged to be nearly as unfounded 
as the other. In ascribing, as he immediately does, to the right 
side of the heart, a greater magnitude, p. 96 ; he gives as a 
reason, that it " administers not only matter to the left, but gives 
nourishment likewise to the lungs." This doctrine, which he 
attributes to Aristotle, is again repeated at p. 107, that " the 
vena arteriosa hath such a wide orifice, because it carries a 
great deal more blood than is necessary for nourishing the lungs." 
Now would it not appear from this, that he knew nothing of the 
bronchial artery, and that he really had not the remotest idea of 



the value and importance, nay the absolute necessity of the pulmo- 
nary passage, beyond that of its being the direct route from the 
one to the other ventricle ; a fact already proved to have been 
as well known to many of his predecessors ! 

It has been customary, I believe, to ascribe to Harvey the 
axiom, that the blood is the "primum vivens, et ultimum moriens." 
I have already demonstrated, I think, that if the remark is well 
founded, it is due to Aristotle, even by Harvey's own confession. 
At p. 100, of this chapter it would seem, however, that he rather 
attributes this extreme property of life to the right auricle, where, 
speaking of the ears, as being the first movers of the blood, he 
adds, "especially the right, being the first thing that lives, and the 
last that dies." So also we find in his treatise, de Generatione, 
(Exerc. 57. p. 244. ed. 1662, Amst.) when speaking of the ven- 
tricle and auricle, as to which is superior, he says, " Quippe has 
(auricula?) pulsare primo, et vivere, ultimoque emori, comper- 
tum est." Plain as is this statement, in two different treatises, 
he actually contradicts himself in the 2d exercitation to Riolan, 
p. 147, or at least seems to be in absolute doubt on the subject 

" Whether the blood be moved or driven, or move itself by its own intrin- 
sical nature, we have spoken sufficiently in our book of the motion of the 
heart and blood." 

The particular place is not mentioned; it is enough, however, 
to demonstrate the uncertainty of his mind, and to render doubtful 
the- previous assertion respecting the auricle. This is more com- 
plete, if we take into view what he affirms in his 52d. Exercit. 
p. 195, {de Generatione,) of the innate powers of the blood — 

" Idepque concludimus, sanguinem per se vivere et nutriri; nulloque 
modo ab alia aliqua corporis parte, vel priore, vel praestantiore dependere." 

How is it possible to draw permanent conclusions respecting 
the writings and meaning of an author, who has so many strings 
to his bow, that if one is cracked, another immediately presents 
itself, of an opposite character 1 I could enlarge quotations on 
this head ; but probably the reader may deem the above fully 

I would like to know his meaning in this chapter, when he 


says, "the left ventricle possesses the middle of the heart." There 
is unquestionably some error that calls for redress, although the 
Latin text expresses the same thing. A few sentences after, the 
word hirndo or leech, in both Latin editions, is by Dr. Wood 
translated swallow ; an additional example of the necessity of 
continual reference to the original ! Is it conformable to the 
observations of anatomists, what he affirms at p. 101, that he 
had found the right auricle in some men so strong, as to appear 
equal in strength to the ventricles in other men? I ask for 
information, and not with the idea of denying the fact : yet some 
of the assertions he proceeds to state, appear to me to require 
revision and confirmation : so likewise do some of the explana- 
tions he affords of different parts, as of the arteries, veins, &c. 
Thus he tells us, p. 104, that as 

"Nature, which is perfect, makes nothing in vain, and is sufficient in all 
things, the nearer the arteries are to the heart, the more they differ from the 
veins in their constitution, and are more robust and full of ligaments, but 
in the furthest dispersions of thern, in the hand, foot, brain, mesenterie, 
and spermatick vessels, they are so like in their constitution, that earnestly 
viewing their tunicles, it is a hard business to know one from the other." 

How correct all, or at least a part of this may be, I leave to 
the verdict of the anatomist. It is the more requisite to consider 
the subject, since he proceeds to remark, that this (similitude of 
arteries and veins), is so, for just cause ; and he enters into an 
elaborate discussion, in which will be found, I apprehend, more 
sound than substance. Many other parts of this chapter would 
perhaps admit of doubts being raised respecting them, but being 
not so immediately connected with my object, I deem it useless 
to dwell upon them, and shall, therefore, here conclude my re- 
marks. I shall, however, insert a few extracts from Harvey's 
Treatise on Generation ; as these have a connexion with it. 
They are taken from the 18 mo. edition of Amsterdam, printed 
in 1662. Leaving them for the reflection of the reader, I insert 
them as I find them in the order of the pages. 


I have already adverted to Harvey's belief in spontaneous 
generation; and we here find him, p. 13, accrediting, bona fide, 
men, or at least women, having tails in Borneo, as a defence to 
modesty ! He assures us, on the authority of a certain surgeon, 

" Vir probus, mihique familiaris, ex India orientali redux, bona fide mihi 
narravit, in insulae Borneae locis a mari remotioribus et montosis, nasci hodie 
genus quoddam hominum caudatum, (uti dim alibi accidisse, apud Pausaniam 
legimus) e quibus aegre captam virginetn (sunt enim sylvicolae) ipse vidit, 
cum cauda carnosa, crassa, spithamx longitudine intra dunes reflexa, quse 
anum et pudenda operiebat." 

And why so 1 because the tail, in animals, is " tale pudicitiae 
tutamen," &c, that, " usque adeo velari ea loca natura voluit." ! 
Lord Monboddo was ridiculed for some similar notion, I be- 
lieve; but here we have it under the authority of Harvey! So 
much for credulity ! He affords us, however, no reason for the 
excess of modesty in the Bornese females, which should require 
this appendage; whilst the women of every other part of the 
world, are entirely devoid of it ! 

In the 51st Exercitation, p. 190, " de particula genetali prima," 
we find him affirming that it is the blood " qui primus in gene- 
ratione conspicitur," not in the egg only, but in the conceptions 
of animals. He believes it even prior to its receptacle; and that 
it is the " particulam corporis principalem" — as the heart " Cor 
esse ipsius organum, circumlationis ejus destinatum, quippe 
functio cordis, est sanguinis propulsatio." 

At p. 192, he maintains the life of the blood, from Levit. xvii. 
11 and 14. 

"Vita igitur in sanguine consistit, quippe in ipso vita atque anima 
primum elucet, ultimoque deficit. Crebra enim vivorum dissectione exper- 
tus sum, moriente jam animali, nee amplius spirante, cor tamen aliquandiu 
pulsare, vitamque in se retinere. Quiescente autem corde, motum vidias in 
auriculis superstitem, ac postremo in auricula dextra; ibique tandem cessante 
omni pulsatione, in ipso sanguine undulationem quondam, et obscuram tre- 
pidationem, sive palpitationem reperias." 

From whence, together with some other points, he concludes, 
p. 193: 

" Quibus clare constat, sanguinem esse partem genitalem, fontem vitee, 


primum vivens et ultimo moriens, sedemque anima; primariam; in quo 
[tanquam in fonte] calor primo, et praecipue abundat, vigetque; et a quo 
reliquae omnes totius corporis partes calore influente foventur, et vitam ob- 
tinent. Quippe calor sanguinem comitatus, totum corpus irrigat, fovet, 
et conservat : quemadmodum jampridem, libello de motu sanguinis, de- 

Much more is superadded to prove the priority and superiority 
of the blood ; 

« Ut anima primo et principaliter in ipso residens, illius gratia, tota in 
toto, et Main qualibet parte i?iesse, merito censeatur." 

Denying that Aristotle and all physicians are correct, in 
regarding the liver or the heart to be the " autor et opifex san- 
guinis," he affirms that the blood itself, is " potius autorem cordis 
et hepatis ;" and that the heart was solely constructed " ut per- 
petua pulsatione, (venarum arteriarumque ministerio) sanguinem 
hunc accipiat, eundemque quoquoversum per totum corpus pro- 
pellat," p. 195. This chapter conclusively proves the very high 
and deserved estimation in which Harvey held the blood ; nor is 
the next (Exercit. 52.) less tenacious in its claims in its behalf. 
Referring to, and quoting Aristotle, [de hist. Anim. lib. 3. ch. 19.] 
in words that seem clearly to express a perception of a circula- 
tion, and its necessity, without, however, entering into any ab- 
stract consideration of its particular route; we must be blinded 
by prejudice, I think, if we cannot be persuaded to grant to 
Aristotle a tithe of that honour, that has been so lavishly be- 
stowed on Harvey ! 

" Priusquam corporis quippiara visu discernitur, sanguis jam genitus et 
auctus est, palpitatque (ut Aristoteles ait) intra venas, pulsuque simul quo- 
quoversum movetur; solusque omnium humorum sparsus per totum corpus 
animalium est. Et semper quamdiu vita servatur, sanguis unus animatur 
et fervet." 

This, and more I might quote, is strong language, yet probably 
in a great degree correct, and I may as well state here, an extract 
of a similar character (from Exercit. 55. p. 228.) showing 
moreover, that, however exalted his opinion of the heart and 
blood, it was scarcely superior to that of Aristotle. 


" Cor itaque (sive, nostro arbitratu, sanguis) est prima animae sedes, fons 
vitaeet focus perennis, calor genitalis, ipsumqueadeo caliduminnatum ; pri- 
mum partium suarum omnium instrurnentalium efficiens, animamquepro fine 
sortitum,quae illis omnibus, ceu instrumcntis, utatur. Cor, inquam, est, (ex 
sententia Aristotelis,) cujus caussa partes cunctae in animalibus fabricantur ; 
idemque earum omnium principium simul, etopifex existit." 

It would be difficult to say which of these great men esti- 
mated, most correctly and highly, the heart and blood ; but I 
have no doubt, that neither of them could think as they did, re- 
specting them ; without a perfect conviction, though only a par- 
tial comprehension of a circulation; and if Harvey has really 
more truly traced its route, that he may thank the abundant facts 
that had accumulated from the time of his wonderful predecessor. 
But what thanks have these elicited 1 scarcely are they noticed, 
whilst arrogating to himself the full discovery at p. 196, 

" Circuitum sanguinis admirabilem, d me jampridem inventum, video 
propemodum omnibus placuisse: nee ab aliquo quippiam bactenus objec- 
tum esse, quod responsum magnopere mereatur." 

The whole of the 51st, 52d, and 53d Exercitations, are so much 
and closely interwoven with the doctrines of the circulation, that 
I think they ought to find a place in Harvey's exposition. They 
are, moreover, amongst the most interesting parts of his treatise ; 
and I could find much to consider in them, in the investigation 
I have been pursuing. He speaks of the want of feeling or sen- 
sation in the blood ; a fact announced by Aristotle, but not re- 
ferred to him, by Harvey; nor another, of an analogous character, 
the want of sensibility in the brain and spinal marrow, which is 
also mentioned by him ; (see hist. Animal, lib. 3. c. 19.) wherein, 
after noticing the first above mentioned fact, he says, " Quin- 
etiam cerebrum, et medulla tactum non sentit." Harvey's words 
are, p. 198, " Neque enim cerebrum, medulla spinalis, aut crys- 
tallinus, vitreusque oculi humor quicquam sentiunt," &c. Here, 
moreover, in proof of the great insensibility of the heart itself, he 
mentions the case to which I have in p. 103, 4, referred; but in 
which he was forestalled by one somewhat like it. yet of infinitely 
greater interest in the hands of Galen ! I need not repeat them 
here ; nor refer to them, further than to renew my astonishment, 



that a case so similar to his own, and so particularly detailed, was 
not even hinted at, as to be found in Galen ! 

I have noticed in a preceding page, that some writers, as 
Diemerbroeck, had doubts whether the blood ought to be con- 
sidered as a part of the body. Of its being so, Harvey is per- 
fectly satisfied ; and he follows out, pretty closely and extensively 
some of Aristotle's views ; which I notice, only to state his 
accordance with Aristotle, (p. 205,) that the blood is to be 
regarded, " non ut simpliciter intelligitur, et cruor dicitur ; sed, 
ut corporis animalis pars vivens est." And he then proceeds, 
in true scholastic style, to consider it materialiter, et formaliter, 
no doubt, to the perfect satisfaction of his advocates and adhe- 
rents. At p. 243, Exercit. 57. we again find him dwelling on 
his favourite doctrines of the prior formation and motion of the 
blood, and of its being imbued with a vital spirit, before any 
sanguifying or motive organ existed. 

His ideas relative to the nourishment of the foetus, are to be 
found at p. 252. As might be expected, denying, as he does, 
anastomoses ; he considers the dictum of Hippocrates as supe- 
rior to that of Fabricius and other anatomists, who regarded the 
amniotic liquor as sweat, and as injurious to the foetus; whilst 
with Hippocrates, Harvey esteems it nutritive, 

"Partemque ejus tenuiorem et sinceriorem, intra venas umbilicales 
haustam, primogenitas foetus partes constituere, et augere; ex reliquo 
autem, ceu lacte, per suctionem in ventriculum deglutito, ibidemque cocto, 
sive chylificato," &c. 

All which curious assertions he very learnedly attempts to 
prove, by affirming, that should the fetus, swimming in that 
fluid, open its mouth, the fluid would enter into it, and should 
other muscles move, the liquor would be swallowed ! Prodigious 
deductions ! And he yet goes still further in favour of Hippo- 
crates, by asking why we should hesitate to affirm that the 
" fetum in utero sugere," and he proves it to be so, as he sup- 
poses, by many facts and affirmations ! 

His 60th Exercitation is chiefly on the subject of the utility 
of the yolk and the white of the egg. In this, he reviews the 
opinions of his master Fabricius. At p. 265, adverting to the 


blood, which appears during the progress of the incubation of 
the chick, and how it is formed, 

"Sive, a quo opifice uterque liquor in sanguinem mutetur, nondum exis- 
tente jecore 1 Non potuit enim dicere ilium in ovo a materno sanguine pro- 
fluxisse," &c. 

Proceeding in this manner, referring to Fabricius, he says, 

"Silentio autem praeteriit difficultatem maximam, et medicorum animos 
non leviter torquentem ; nimirum, quomodo jecur sit origo et opifex sangui- 
nis : cum hie non solum in ovo repeiiatur, ante natum aliquod viscus; sed 
et ipsi medici doceant, viscerum omnium .parenchymata, esse sanguinis 
duntaxat affusiones'? Estne opus, autor sui opificis 1 Si hepatis paren- 
chyma fit ex sanguine, quomodo illud hujus caussafuerit?" 

In Exercit. 71, p. 314. de calido innato, he affords further 
proof of his high estimate of the blood. 

"Solus nempe sanguis est calidum innatum." " Nihil sane in corpora 
animalium, sanguine prius aut praestantius reperitur; neque spiritus, quos a 
sanguine distinguunt, uspiam ab Mo separati inveniuntur." Compare this 
with Galen's ideas of spirits in the blood, if he really entertained them. 
" Est igitur sanguis sufficiens etidoneus, qui sit immediatum animae instru- 
mentum ; quoniam et ubique praesens est, et hue illuc ocyssime permeat." 
p. 317. Et multa alia similia. 

At p. 322, after a long consideration of the blood, through 
several pages, Harvey notices thus its existence, either in or out 
of the veins. 

" Sanguis nempe extra venas absolute, et per se consideratus quatenus est 
elementaris, atque ex diversis partibus (tenuibus scil. serosis, crassis, et 
concretis) componitur, cruor dicitur, paucasque admodum et obscuras 
virtutes possidet." 

How r , with the above impression, he could so tenaciously 
maintain the intermedium of arterial and venous communication 
to be that of the porosities of the parts, I cannot well imagine ; 
nor is that difficulty diminished, by the succeeding sentence. 

"In venis autem existens, quatenus est pars corporis, (this is the source, 
probably, of the opinion that the blood was not a part of the body, as I 
have stated from Diemerbroeck) eademque animata et genitalis, atque imme- 
diatum animae instrumentum, sedesque ejus primaria," &c. 


Proceeding to the pinnacle of hyperbole, he calls it the Sol 
microcosmi, et ignis Platonis, and declares it deserving of the 
name of spirit (spiritus etiam nomen meretur,) and awards it a 
superiority, which indeed it well deserves, over every other part 
of the body, and terminating his eulogy, at p. 323, with the fol- 
lowing emphatic terms. 

" Eodsm ergo res redit, si quis dicat, animam et sanguinem, aut sanguinem 
cum anima, vel animam cum sanguine, omnia in animali perficere." 

I cannot omit here to state, in proof of every superiority that 
can be attributed to the blood, (by its warmest partisan, and no 
one is probably more lavish in its behalf, than Harvey), that 
whereas every other 'part of the body, has been noticed as defi- 
cient, in different monstrosities recorded ; this alone, this fons et 
origo of the miscrocosm of nature, has never been found want- 
ing. Even the stomach, the great centre of sympathy, has been 
wanting, not merely till the period of birth, but to that of forty 
years ; whatever may be said to the contrary, by those who 
boast of having searched deeply and extensively into the subject. 

An excellent remark of Harvey follows the last quotation; 
which, although principally referring to the subject of the blood, 
will be admitted as very applicable to many other cases — 

" Solemus, rerum negligentes speciosa nomina venerari. Sanguis, qui 
nobis prae manibus atque oculis, nil grande sonat: ad spiritum vero, et 
calidi innati, magna nomina obstupescimus." 

Here he gives us a curious story of a certain stone from the 
East Indies, commemorated by Mizaldus and others for its won- 
derful corruscations ; which, whether he accredited or not, as 
in the case of the caudated females of Borneo, he does not say; 
but he terminates the story and the chapter in these words, 
assimilating as it were, the wonders of the blood, with those of 
the extraordinary stone in question. 

"Tarn stupendum lapidem quis non admiretur, credatque eundem supra 
vires elementorum agere, et corpus aliud participare, spiritumque aethereum 
possidere 1 praesertim, cum eundem elemento solis proportione respondentem 
videat. At vero Fernelio (Edipo, parva flammula totum aenigma solvit. 
Ad eundem pariter modum, si sub fabulae involucro sanguinem alicui de- 
pingerem, lapidisque philosophici titulo insignirem, atque omnes ejus 


singulares dotes, operationes, ac facilitates aenigmatice proponerem, ilium 
procul dubio pluris aestimaret ; supra vires elementorum agere facile cre- 
deret, corpusque illi aliud ac divinius non illibenter attribueret." 

It is however high time to arrest my extracts ; which I could 
willingly and readily multiply, in order to point out the exalted 
character that Harvey entertained of this most wonderful of 
the wonders of creation ; and in which, perhaps, no one excels 
him, either of ancient or modern times. His estimation of this 
fluid, indeed, redeems him greatly in my mind, for the neglect 
evinced throughout his writings, of the debt that he owed to his 
predecessors, by his exclusive claim to the discovery of the cir- 
culation. In his high estimate of the blood, Harvey is really -at 
home ; he omits nothing that can give it the highest claim to our 
notice and regard ; although much of it is due to those who pre- 
ceded him : and I have only to regret, that by grasping at too 
much, like the dog in the fable, he deserves to be shorn of much 
of those honours that have so long been heaped upon him. 

And now, in bringing these remarks to a conclusion, I deem 
it proper to renew my inquiry, what is it that we absolutely owe 
to Harvey 1 1 mean as it respects his asserted claim to the full 
discovery of the circulation of the blood. A circulation of that 
fluid, abstractedly considered, I think, has been substantially 
evinced, to have been held by Aristotle and by others, even 
down to his days. However incorrectly they understood the 
mere route of circulation through the vessels ; they appear to 
have comprehended the utility and the necessity of it to nutrition, 
to animal heat, and secretion, equally as well as we now do : 
whilst, in the discharge of blood by venisection, arteriotomy, 
cups, scarification, and even leeches, they were not less bold, 
nor less successful than ourselves. Experience taught them all 
that it now teaches us, in the various modes of its evacuation ; 
and the danger and benefits of its employment, were just as well 
comprehended by the mind of Hippocrates, two thousand years 
ago, as by Harvey, the affirmed discoverer of its route. But, 
what is it that he actually did discover ? Was it the lesser or 
pulmonary circuit? We answer, No! for independently of 
Caesalpinus and others, the near contemporaries of Harvey, we 
find, that rather than ascribe it to them, by whom it is so well 


described, he admits it as nearly known to the illustrious Galen; 
and even affirms this fully, in words not to be overturned by 
sophistry. " It does therefore clearly appear from the words 
and places of Galen, a divine man, father of physicians, both 
that the blood doth pass from the vena arteriosa into the little 
branches of the arteria venosa, both by reason of the pulse of the 
heart, and also because of the motion of the lungs and thorax," 
&c. Admitting then, that Harvey actually was unacquainted 
with the prior right of Servetus and others, to the discovery of 
the pulmonary circulation, we here perceive a full admission of 
right in Galen ; and therefore this cannot be the part he claims. 
What is it ? we repeat. Is it the knowledge of the valves of the 
heart, and of their uses, as leading to a knowledge of the route ? 
By no means ; for here again he affirms that " Galen explains 
the use and necessity of those shuts," de Usu part. 6. ch. 10. 
All claim on behalf of Harvey is, by his own statement, for ever 
cut off, so far as respects the pulmonary circle. What then does 
his claim consist in, that is peculiarly his own, and in no wise 
derivative from others? Is it the discovery of the venous valves? 
Assuredly not; for he ascribes this to his master Aquapendente, 
or to Sylvius, although he says they knew not their use. This 
then forms no part of his exclusive claim: but, if Galen could, 
from their form and location, so well appreciate the use of the 
valves of the heart ; is it not reasonable, that a man like his 
great master Aquapendente, one of the most enlightened anato- 
mists of his age; should, on discovering the venous valves, 
reason on the subject of their use in the animal economy, and be 
led to the same conclusions which Harvey adopted, especially as 
he thinks it was so easy to conceive of them. But putting him 
aside, how can he overpower the claim of Piccolhomini, who 
must be regarded, by every candid and generous mind, as having 
clearly led the way in this particular ? for we cannot, for one 
instant, doubt that his writings were fully known to Harvey. 
What then is left for him to claim? Is it simply the passage of 
the blood from the heart by the aorta, and its return by the 
vena cava ? We may admit it as possible — nay, even as proba- 
ble — but is it undeniably the case? When we perceive the mode 
of explanation given by him, of its passage from the arteries into 



the veins; and find him absolutely unsettled in the attempt; 
(" either mediately by an anastomosis, or immediately through the 
porosities of the flesh, or both ways,") surely we may judge that 
he knew nothing about it ; and that his conclusions, if even just, 
were, at best, conjectural, and not proved. What then remains 
for him ? The whole tenor of these remarks, and the numerous 
extracts given, either from Harvey himself, his adherents, or 
opponents, appear to me to prove the injustice of ascribing to 
any one individual, the extraordinary honour of singly discover- 
ing the circulation of the blood ! W hat exact proportion belongs 
to each individual, will be differently estimated, as peculiar cir- 
cumstances may modify our impressions; but, that a small pro- 
portion only will be found to belong to Harvey, I doubt not, 
will hereafter be conceded, if the present generation cannot sur- 
mount long established opinions : and in the interim, it will be 
well to establish his undoubted rights, by authority admitting of- 
no appeal : and in so doing, let not those of Galen be overlooked 
and unheeded. In admitting Galen's knowledge of the pulmonary 
circulation, the steps to the general circulation may be said to 
be comparatively easy; perceiving the obstruction from the 
valves of the heart, to the retrogression of the blood, after pass- 
ing those portals, he must have observed, that still no accumula- 
tion ensued, and consequently a free passage was somehow 
accomplished ; he saw and acknowledged its discharge from the 
left ventricle, through the aorta to all parts of the body; and was 
equally aware of its constant flow into the right side of the 
heart, through the vena cava ! What then was wanting to his 
understanding of the general circulation? He every where 
announces the anastomoses of the vessels ; and is as positive in 
this respect, as Harvey was with regard to the passage by the 
pores of the flesh,* a doctrine he appears to have known, but by 
no means to have adopted: nor even now, is the dispute termi- 

* When I say Harvey was positive as to the porosities adverted to, I am, per- 
haps, going too far ; the whole tenor of his writings, proves his utter want of 
comprehension on this point; his vacillation and uncertainty as to the subject of 
vascular communication, the only point in fact remaining in his time unsettled, 
and not now a jot better comprehended than in the time of Galen. If my readers 
are not as yet satisfied on these particulars, I must request them to accompany me 


nated, as to which is correct in this particular. Under every 
view of the subject, it seems to me, that the utmost Harvey 
effected, was by means of some well-devised experiments, and 
by an accumulation of facts from preceding writers, to have 
smoothed down some difficulties which still existed. That he, 
and he alone, discovered the circulation, would not now be con- 
ceded ; supposing he could, in the present day, advance his 
ideas in precisely the same manner he did, two centuries ago. 
His demands have been agreed to, without due examination into 
their merits ; and have been transmitted as an heir-loom to the 
profession, who have taken them altogether on trust, and as any 
other long continued tradition may be presumed to impress itself 
upon us. Could many of those to whom I have referred, arise 

once more, to the " Life of Harvey," as given in the College edition of his writings, 
of 1766, p. xiii. Here we read as follows : 

" Duo sunt quidem, ut nequid dissimulemus, quibus in ratione sanguinis cir- 
cumferendi explicanda Harveium defecisse dolemus. Vim enim arteriarum in 
humoribus propellendis minimc sensisse videtur. Arteriarum etiam minutarum 
cum venis conjunctionem primum pernegavit ; tandem postea invitus agnovisse 
videtur, nee tamen rem penitus intellexisse." .' And yet, forsooth, the award is 
granted him of having fully completed and perfected the discovery of the circula- 
tion ! but let us hear a little further on, (p. xxviii.) when noticing his correspond- 
ence with Marquatus Slegelius of Hamburgh, respecting some of Riolan's opinions, 
his biographer thus proceeds. " Praeterea, cum in Epistola ad Riolanum prima* 
omnino pernegasse videretur arteriarum fines cum venarum principiis committi, 
nee anastomosin ullam mutuam vasorum horum, quae sensu percipi posset, exsistere 
dixisset ; sanguinemdenique ex arteriarum extremis vi cordis propulsum incarnium 
meatus tradi, et ex his a venarum principiis in cor deducendum excipi affirmasset; 
paulo uberius sententiam suam de arteriarum conjunctione cum venis in hac 
Epistola exponit," &c. Yet, with all this in favour of porosities, and in opposition 
to anastomoses, even more than twenty years after his work, he scruples not to 
make use of anastornoses, by the affirmation of his great admirer and advocate, 
Dr. De Back, " only as it may further his purpose," which, if it means any thing, 
convicts Harvey, like the traveller in the fable, of blowing hot and cold with the 
same breath ! 

Had I not prepared for the press the Biography of Harvey, herein given, from 
the British edition, as stated, before I got into my hand the College edition of his 
Life, I should certainly have given it in its place ; and even now, I am much dis- 
posed to present it to the reader, at the hazard of some repetitions. I certainly 
would urge its perusal in connexion with this Inquiry. 

* It must be remembered that these letters to Riolan were first printed in 1G49, at Rotter- 
dam—that is, twenty one years after his treatise de Motu Cordis, which in his dedication to the 
College, he had affirmed was " perfect some years ago." ! 


from their slumbers, and peruse the writings by which his claims 
are considered to be substantiated ; would they not indignantly 
exclaim, with the Mantuan Bard, 

" Hos ego — scripsi, tulit alter honores." 

How far I have been enabled to redeem my pledge, I now 
leave to the candid judgment of the profession ; at least, of those 
members of it, who consider truth as of more importance than a 
name, and who will seriously devote themselves to an unbiassed 
investigation of the subject in all its bearings. 

[fcs* As considerable matter yet remains for notice, I have 
placed it in form of an Appendix, in the succeeding pages; 
hoping that it may be found not altogether devoid of interest, 
and earnestly requesting the reader to believe, that had I not 
considered it a duty, I would never have entered on a subject 
so entirely disagreeable, as that of questioning the claims of a 
man who has so long obtained the suffrages of the medical 



As I imagine it may be useful for any individuals who may think proper 
to pursue this inquiry, to have some notice of where they may look for its 
investigation, I have subjoined in this appendix, the names of several 
whose writings bear upon the subject, in a greater or less degree. Many 
of them are taken from the Biography of the Diction, des Sciences Medic. 
I have chiefly followed the alphabetical order, simply for the sake of refer- 
ence, instead of attending to the sera of the individual. Few of these works 
are to be found in America ; but will probably reward, in their perusal, 
some European writer. Under the general head of " Anatomistes," we 
find in the Biography above adverted to, some short hints, &c. connected 
with individuals and the circulation, with which I shall begin, merely 
stating what is to be expected in that particular. 

Besides these, Vanderlinden mentions the names of Bravo, Citadinus, 
Conringius, Regius, Beverovicius, Tozzus, Highmore, Schlegelius, Gas- 
sendus, Lowerus, Drake, Spigelius, Deusingius, Leichnerus, Cause, Ulmus, 
&c. — And 

In the 5th vol. of the Diet, des Sciences Medic, p. 228, we have a long 
and interesting article of above twenty-five pages, on the subject of the cir- 
culation, by M. Lerminier, who gives references to various authors. 


" John Baptiste Cannani found the valves of the V. azygos." "An 
anatomical theatre was established at Pisa in 1552; and in that year, M. 
Servetus, who was subsequently burned by Protestant fanatics, after having 
escaped the flames of the Inquisition, discovered the pulmonary circulation. 
In 1556, a theatre was opened at Montpellier. Andrew C^esalpinus had a 
glimpse of the larger circulation in 1571." — "Jerome Fabricius, (this was 
Harvey's master,) confirmed the existence of the venous valves, to the dis- 
covery of which he erroneously laid claim." 

" Perhaps it was wrong to neglect (in anatomy) the plan employed by 
Riolan, viz. that of inflating, to enable him to demonstrate the connection 
of vessels." 

"In 1662 Caspar Aselli perceived the chyliferous vessels. This dis- 
covery is perhaps more important than that of the circulation of the blood, 



and yet Aselli is scarcely known amongst us, whilst William Harvey, an 
Englishman, has made his name resound throughout Europe."* 

" William Harvey — The pupil of Fabricius, who made known to him 
the valves of the veins; Harvey applied himself to discover their use, and 
was thus led to a knowledge of the circulation, foreseen, as we have said, 
by Servetus and Caesalpinus. He demonstrated this great discovery in 
lG19,f and after many researches in its confirmation, he made it the subject 
of an immortal work, in which facts and reasoning mutually support each 
other. He triumphed over all his antagonists, had the happiness, refused 
to so many philosophers, of seeing his opinions generally adopted in his 
life-time, and furnished a remarkable example of the mode that should be 
adopted in the demonstration of an important discovery. Descartes, in 
spite of his taste for hypothesis, embraced his defence." — " About the 
period of Harvey thus immortalizing himself, M. A. Severinus made some 
interesting remarks on anatomy ; James Primrose, Caspar Hofmann, and 
Em. Parisanus, attacked violently the author of the discovery of the circu- 
lation." « Paul Marcard, Slegel, and Henry Leroy, most zealously de- 
fended the great Harvey." " John Walaeus, Roger Drake, George Ent, and 
Germain Conring, defended and perfected the doctrine of the circulation of 
the blood." " Isbrand Diemerbroeck, showed himself one of the most 
ardent defenders of the circulation of the blood." " Charles Drelincourt 
successfully repeated Harvey's experiments on the circulation." 

" F. Ruysch discovered the bronchial artery,| and the capillary circulation, 
and demonstrated the true route of the lymph." " Anthony Leuwenhoeck, 
by means of improved microscopes, clearly saw the circulation of the blood 
in the smallest vessels, and the direct passage of this fluid from the arteries 
into the veins." " Stephen Blancard showed, by injection, the direct com- 
munication of arteries and veins." 

What we have further to say on the subject of Harvey, may as well be 
connected with the preceding notice of him under the head of Anatomistes. 

Harvey, Wm. — Extracts from and remarks on his biography, by A. 


Whatever writers may precisely mean, may be accurately known to them- 
selves ; but they must be judged by others, from the commonly received 

* EP Under the head of Asellius, p. 387, when adverting to his discovery ; which, 
however, the modest Aselli rather ascribed to Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hero- 
philus, Erasistratus, and Galen ; the editor remarks, " that the great Harvey is 
deserving of censure, for having shown a degree of enmity to Asellius ; and for 
having maintained that these vessels did not convey chyle." 

t I doubt if the editor had read his work, as he thus errs in the date by three 
years ! It is a loose mode at all events. 

t A century after Harvey. 


ideas of the words they employ, in connection with the subject treated of. 
Now when Harvey is called the Discoverer of the Circulation, I ask every 
candid man, whether, unaccompanied by any restrictive or explanatory 
clause, the exclusive claim has not been considered as his alone ; and 
whether the whole subject is not usually merged altogether in him! In the 
biography as given by Jourdan, there is however such a limitation ; and had 
it always, either by Harvey himself, or his advocates, been freely admitted, 
I never should have objected to his participating in the honour, so far as he 
is justly entitled thereto : even to the admission of its full correctness, 
which, in various parts, his warmest friends cannot maintain to be the case. 

"No one, says Jourdan, is ignorant that Harvey discovered the circulation 
of the blood." Now follows that judicious restriction, which most certainly 
neither enters into any part of Harvey's writings, nor scarcely in any of 
those of his friends and partisans. " But we should greatly deceive our- 
selves, if we should here take the word discovery in its rigorous meaning ;" 
(JtT^and why not 1 ? in fact, the word, both in French and English, and we 
may add, in Latin, is absolutely rigorous in its acceptation ;) for — il s'en 
faut de beaucoup que tous les points de la theorie du mouvement du fluide 
nourricier fussent egalement inconnus avant les researches de cet illustre 
anatomiste. — We have seen, proceeds the writer, that Harvey had Fab. ab 
Aquapendente for master, at Padua. Now amongst his numerous anatomical 
pursuits, Fabricius was much occupied with the foetus and the venous valves. 
These were likewise the objects of Harvey's especial attention. It is very 
probable, therefore, that the knowledge he thus acquired at the lectures of 
Fabricius, gave him the idea of the circulation, without supposing, with Van- 
derlinden, that the suggestion was given to him by a London apothecary ; 
although, even in such case, we might say with reason, that it was a happy 
suggestion improved by the aid of genius. But, since the valves are 
directed towards the heart, it was impossible not to conclude (Qy^and why will 
not this conclusion equally fit the master as the student!) from this circum- 
stance, that they serve to direct the blood towards that organ. This theorem 
once admitted, the sight alone of the valves of the arteries at their origin from 
the heart, should cause a similar conclusion, that the blood is carried from 
the heart into the arteries. This idea of a circulation, had not entirely escaped 
his predecessors, (he here refers to Servetus,) in whose writings we find, 
at least, the pulmonary circulation described, although obscurely, and with- 
out the developements and proofs, which were so requisite in the age of 
Bacon, in which Harvey lived. (Why more then, than at any other period!) 
Columbus had indicated more clearly the lesser circulation. Caesalpinus 
left still less to be desired in this respect, and speaks even in terms quite 
precise (assez precis) of the return of the blood by the veins ; but except 
the proof derived from the ligature over the vein, (d'une ligature qu'on 
applique sur la veine) his writings contain no ulterior detail of this impor- 
tant doctrine. 

" Thus, continues the writer, the mind (les esprits) was in the tract of the 


discovery of the circulation, and some parts of this great organic phenome- 
non had already been perceived, when Harvey appeared, to vivify, as it 
were, an idea vaguely floating in the mind, to collect all the facts observed up 
to his time, to augment the mass, and add thereto all the essential develope- 
ments, and finally to deduce those general conclusions, that are the natural 

jlT^This is a beautiful picture of Harvey, but which the perusal of his 
Works will, I think, not be found to justify. Even the extreme silence, as 
from whence most of the facts he adduces were derived; — his tacit appro- 
priation of them to himself; his apparent dread of vindicating his claims, 
by answering his opponents, and strengthening his views, so as to subdue 
all opposition; leave some reason to think that he feared the result would 
be unfriendly to him. It is perhaps not of much importance, but the 
learned biographer has stated, that "Harvey decided, in 1619, as maybe 
judged from his dedicatory epistle, to teach publicly the circulation of the 
blood, but did not print his book on the subject until 1628." It appears, 
however, from the Biography given from the English B. Diet, and else- 
where, that he was appointed lecturer of anatomy and surgery in the Col- 
lege of Physicians of London in 1615, "and the year after (1616) read a 
course of lectures there, in which he opened his discovery relating to the 
circulation of the blood." It is this want of accuracy as to dates, that has 
given rise to so many disputes as to rights of discovery, &c. ; and I think it 
proper therefore to notice this, even at the risk of being considered too 

We are told in continuation, that Harvey begins by combating the errors 
of the ancients, and particularly to prove that the arteries are not intended, 
as they maintained, to convey an aerial spirit or pneuma (l'esprit aerien ou 
le pneuma) through the body, but the blood. And if my readers will attend 
throughout, they will see that on this point, and they will find it proved, 
from Harvey himself, that the arteries carried only blood, according to Galen, 
(the only ancient quoted by him on this head,) whilst he himself, if words 
have meaning, in various places advances this very untenable position. 
Even the arbitrary evaluation of the amount of blood, (the idea of which is, 
perhaps, exclusively his own,) which passes from the heart at each con- 
traction, is entirely hypothetical, even by his own admission ; and, as M. 
Jourdan has well observed, "he went too far, and fell into a mistake, which 
has reitrned despotically in the schools ever since, since, at present, scarcely 
can three or four physiologists be found, to oppose it, with this, and some 
of the deductions drawn from it. In truth," he adds, "Harvey has not 
explained himself clearly — nor perhaps did he ever think of asking himself, 
if it was really the same blood that flowed in the arteries and veins." I 
perfectly agree with Mr. J. in considering H. as having by no means 
clearly explained himself, either here, or in many other parts of his writ- 
ings : but whether accidental or intentional, I cannot fully satisfy myself. 

I must quote a little further, here, since it will be seen to be connected 


with that unknown region of the circulation, that terra incognita, which, like 
the shores of Greenland, have disappeared from observation. Adverting, 
then, to the proposition above, of the character of the blood in the vessels, 
whether it was the same that flowed in both arteries and veins — he proceeds 
to say, " The successors of Harvey admitted this identity, or to speak more 
accurately, they supposed a direct communication between the arteries and 
the veins, although such hypothesis rendered inexplicable, on the one part, 
the phenomena of nutrition, and on the other, the actual difference of arte- 
rial and venous blood ; and in this respect it may be boldly affirmed that 
Harvey went too far. His theory of the circulation of the blood has con- 
secrated (consacre) a great error, attested by the word circulation itself; 
for the blood does not circulate in the rigorous acceptation of the term." I 
advert to this, more particularly to show, that, as Harvey denies this im- 
mediate intercommunication of veins and arteries, as we have so repeatedly 
shown ; the term circulation is still less correct, than if the doctrine of 
anastomoses were absolutely true. We perceive, however, the great dif- 
ficulty in thus adopting that view of the subject, in relation to nutrition, &c. 
and probably others, besides myself, may come to the conclusion, that it 
is all a mystery, and likely to remain so, and consequently, that the circu- 
lation is not yet discovered ! But I cannot avoid another remark, with the 
most perfect respect to the learned biographer ; viz., how quickly he has 
found it necessary, (only two pages apart,) to divest the word discovery of 
its rigorous acceptation in one place ; whilst he has as strongly rested on, or 
enforced that rigorous acceptation of the same word, (at least it is implied,) 
when the occasion required it, to disprove anastomoses. As to the mode 
in which the function of nutrition is performed, it is wrapt in secrecy from 
its obvious minuteness of deposition in whatever way it may take place. 

Undertaking, as I have, to demonstrate the unwarrantable character of 
that claim, by which Harvey has been greeted as the great discoverer of the 
circulation ; but which Mr. Jourdan declares is not to be taken in its 
rigorous acceptation ; it would be ridiculous in me to appear to suppose, 
with that gentleman, that envy alone operated in the breasts of all the 
opponents of Harvey. Whatever faults were committed, they were not 
restricted to one side only. Who began the abuse that became so virulent, 
I know not ! If Harvey had been content to say nothing on the subject of 
these momes and detractors, &c. — if he had afforded no hostile attitude in his 
treatise, perhaps the plea might pass ; but as it is, I cannot feel it correct, 
to advocate the moderation, or animadvert on the abuses of either. It is 
taking, I think, too much upon himself, when Mr. Jourdan thus assumes 
the absolute right of discovering in its rigorous acceptation, that, " Envy 
raised itself on every side against him : but he replied only by contempt to 
these theoricians, to those austere (farouches, qu?) admirers of antiquity, 
who are always ready to combat facts by reasoning, or to elevate the 
ancients, in the sole intention (dans la seule vue) of undervaluing the 
moderns." May we not affirm, perhaps with more truth, that the little 



intercourse now maintained with the ancients, has really led us to under- 
value them, from the ignorance of what they have done to science generally, 
or to medicine in particular 1 

If Harvey, as Mr. J. says, amidst these attacks upon his self-love had 
had the wisdom to keep quiet, and wait for time to do him justice, we 
might have sympathized with him, on the libels with which he was assailed, 
although I have not been able to find out wherein they exactly consisted, 
or how Harvey supposed himself entitled to an exemption from that criti- 
.cism, which his relation, Gideon Harvey, so unsparingly bestowed, at a 
later period, on the whole college and profession of physic. But since, if 
not the first aggressor, he did take up the cudgel, and call names ; it is 
perhaps best, that now, at the distance of two hundred years, we should 
calmly survey the scene ; and at least, not blame severely, without reading 
accurately, all that has been bandied backwards and forwards. If Harvey 
has not done justice to his own master Aquapendente, and many others, his 
predecessors and contemporaries ; by what sophistry shall we be led to 
credit, that the same treatment towards himself was unjust and improper'? 

But I must forbear ; having yet to notice what is said by Jenty as to 
Harvey ; in order more completely to estimate him : especially as it em- 
braces much interest in its connexion with his writings. 

" Wm. H.," says he, p. cxxv. Compend. Vol. I., " a celebrated physician, 
was born at Folkstone in Kent, in the year 1577. He studied five years at 
Padua, where he took a doctor's degree ; afterwards took the same degree 
at Cambridge ; and having been physician to King James I. and Charles I. 
and President of the College of Physicians; he died in 1657, in the 80th 
year of his age. His discovery of the circulation of the blood, was of the 
utmost importance in physic, of any that was ever made, and immortalized 
his name: but as it has been frivolously disputed whether the honour of it 
belongs to him, I shall transcribe a passage from Wotton's Reflections on 
Ancient and Modern Learning, which sets this affair in a true light : 'This 
discovery, first made perfectly intelligible (£7= Is it so, even at this day !) 
by Dr. Harvey, is of so very great importance to show the communication 
of all the humours of the body with each other, that, as soon as men were 
perfectly satisfied that it was not to be contested, which they were in a 
few years ; a great many put in for the prize, unwilling that Harvey should 
go away with all the glory.' " This is scarcely its true light, as, perhaps, 
most persons will admit, at the present day, when the subject may be taken 
up, without those personal feelings that then existed ! " At last," con- 
tinues Jenty, " Harvey printed a discourse, on purpose, upon this subject, 
at Frankfort, in 1 628. This gave him a just title to the honour of so noble 
a discovery ; since what his predecessors have said before him was not 
enough understood, to form just notions from their words. One may also 
observe, how gradually this discovery, as well as all abstruse truths of human 
disquisition, was explained to the world." The proposition of this last 
sentence every one must acquiesce in : but in doing so, how can that be 


called a discovery, which was but the merely perfecting of what his prede- 
cessors knew ! But let us hear further, what Jenty urges, in order to prove 
Harvey's full claim to the honour that has so long been awarded to him. 
It may be worth while, too, to recollect that of all those who have made the 
full award, from the time of Harvey to the present day, not one has been 
himself a party to a single link in this extensive claim ; their right to make 
such award, by which, all but Harvey alone, are cut off from any partici- 
pation of the honour, may well be called in question ! Would they have 
so freely done so, had they given birth to the suggestions and explanations 
of Servetus and others 1 We may undertake, I think, to answer for them, 

" Hippocrates first talked of the usual motion of the blood ; Plato said, 
that the heart was the origin of the veins and blood that was carried about 
every member of the body ; Aristotle, also, somewhere speaks of a recurrent 
motion of the blood : still all this was only opinion and belief. It was 
rational, and became men of their genius ; but not having, as yet, been 
made evident by experiments, it might as easily be denied as affirmed." 

This reasoning will apply to Harvey equally, so far as the mode of union 
between arteries and veins is explained by him ! 

"Servetus first discovered, that the blood passes through the lungs; 
(HT** Harvey seems to admit it as known to Galen!) Columbus went 
farther, and showed the uses of the valves of the heart, (£7° so did Galen !) 
which let the blood in and out of their respective vessels, but not in the 
self-same road. Thus the amy was just open when Harvey came, who built 
upon the first foundations." (Oy^But gave no credit to the previous archi- 
tects ; unlike the building of St. Peter's in the Eternal City, where the first 
architect received his full proportion of honour, with those who followed, 
and "built upon the first foundations.") 

"To make his work still the easier, the valves of the veins, which were 
discovered by Father Paul, the Venetian, (even the discoverer of the valves 
is not fully acquiesced in !) had been not long before explained by F. ab 
Aquapendente, when the circulation was yet more clearly demonstrated." 

" There was one thing still wanting, to complete this theory, and that was, 
the knowledge how the veins received that blood which the arteries discharged. 
CtT^Aye, every thing but this, was adequately known before Harvey; and it 
is remarkable, but not less true, that it is the only part of the circulation that 
remains undiscovered even at the present day ! What then has he actually 
discovered of the whole chain] Now, hear how this connexion was ex- 
plained, and judge if we know any thing about it, more than was known to, 
or imagined by Harvey, Galen, and even Hippocrates ! the mystery remains 
unelicited, and the honours decreed to Harvey have been too precipitately 
awarded !) 

" It was believed that the mouths of each sort of vessels joined into 
one another. That opinion was soon laid aside; because it was found, that 
the capillary vessels were so extremely small, that it was impossible, with 


the naked eye, to trace them." (Rather, perhaps, as being Galen's de- 
cided doctrine of anastomosis ; it would, by forestalling Harvey, tend 
greatly to diminish his claim to be considered the sole discoverer of the 
circulation of the blood.) * * "This put them upon imagin- 

ing, (it is well to call things by their right name !) that the blood ouzes out 
of the arteries, and is absorbed by the veins, whose small orifices receive it, 
as it lies in the fibres of the tnuscles, or in the parenchyma of the bowels ; 
which opinion (here's a discovery ending in opinion ! !) has been generally 
received by most anatomists since Dr. Harvey's time. But Leuwenhoeck 
Jias found in several sorts of fishes, which were more manageable by his 
glasses, than other animals, that arteries and veins are really continued 
siphons, variously wound round each other towards their extremities, in 
numberless mazes, all over the body ; and others have found what he says 
to be very true, in a water newt. So that this discovery has passed un- 

Jy" Which ; anastomoses, porosities, or siphonic termini ! The question, 
however, is not whether contested or uncontested ; — has it been settled, so 
as to have at present one common creed % or is it not just as obscure as 
when Harvey or Galen wrote their speculations on the subject ? 

" And since it has been constantly found that nature follows like me- 
thods in all sorts of animals, when she uses the same sorts of instruments; 
it will always be believed, that the blood circulates in man after the same 
manner (demonstratio ad absurdum) as it does in eels, perches, carps, bats, 
and some other creatures, in which Leuwenhoeck tried it: though the ways 
how it may be visible to the eye, in human bodies, have not, that I know of, 
been yet discovered !" jjy^ And yet we are told, the discovery of the cir- 
culation is complete ! Surely, we must not accept of these terms in their 
most rigorous acceptation ! 

" But T. Bartholine, and Consentine, have raised up a modern rival to 
Harvey, for the honour of the discovery of the circulation; which is the 
celebrated Father Paul. What they relate, amounts only to this; that in a 
manuscript of Father Paul, that was left in the hands of Father Fulgentius 
at Venice, the particulars of the true circulation of the blood, as published 
by Harvey, are contained : and hence they conclude, that he communicated 
it to Fabricius ab Aquapendente, who told it to Harvey whilst he was at 
Padua, (itT 3 who claimed it as his own; at least, the story is as likely as 
the opposite one, viz.,) but the truth of this affair appeared to be, 
(OCT** where is the proof of this 1 ?) that after Harvey's return to England, 
he made a present of his book, just then published, (-IT 5 * * n 1628 — compare 
dates, as far as possible, with respect to Father Paul, in this business) to 
the Venetian ambassador; who, immediately after going home, lent it to 
Father Paul, whose curiosity ({£7* ah ! fatal curiosity, which led the good 
Father to pluck an apple from a tree of knowledge in the illustrious 
Harvey's garden !) led him to make some extracts from it, which are con- 



tained in the MSS above mentioned. What made this story the more likely 
to be true, was Father Paul's sagacity in anatomical researches, -who first 
observed the contraction and dilatation of the pupil of the eye (why does not 
Jenty call this a discovery !) and is said to have communicated to Aqua- 
pendente his knowledge of the valves of the veins." 

jjy This ridiculous story is at once set down, by the simple fact, that 
Harvey's book was "just published" in 1628, and poor Father Paul died in 
his 72d year, on the 14th January, 1622 ! See Biog. Diet. vol. x. p. 209, 
Lond. Edit, of 1784. The whole of this very extraordinary man's biogra- 
phy might be interesting : and would induce the reader to believe in the 
probability that he really made the discovery ascribed to him. I shall, 
however, so far entreat the reader's patience, as to give him, from the 
above source, what is there related on the subject; the biography being 
from Fulgentio's life of Father Paul. He was born at Venice, in 1552, 
that is, 25 years before Harvey. 

" He, Father Paul, studied likewise anatomy, especially that part of it, 
which relates to the eye ; on which he made so many curious observations, 
that the celebrated Fabricius ab Aquapendente did not scruple to employ, 
in terms of the highest applause, the authority of Paul on that subject, both 
in his lectures and writings. Fulgentio expresses his surprise at Aquapen- 
dente, for not acknowledging, in his 'Treatise of the Eye,' the singular ob- 
ligations he had to Paul, whom he declares to have merited all the honour 
of it. (If so, Fabricius received a just return for his ingratitude, at the 
hands of Harvey ; but poor Father Paul between them both, seems to have 
fallen to the ground.) He asserts likewise, that Paul discovered the valves 
which serve for the circulation of the blood, and this seems to be allowed; 
but not that he found it, as Walaeus, Morhoff, and others, have contended in 
prejudice to our countryman Harvey, to whom that discovery has usually, 
and indeed justly, been ascribed. A book was published at Amsterdam, 
, 1684, in 8vo, with this title, " Inventa Novantiqua; id est, brevis enarratio 
ortus et progresses artis medicae, ac praecipue de inventis vulgo novis aut 
nuperrime in ea repertis :" in which the author, Theodore Jansonius ab 
Almeloveen, far from allowing Harvey to have discovered the circulation 
of the blood, affirms it to have been known to several others, and even to 
Hippocrates himself. But as to what concerns Paul, he has the following 
remarkable passage: 'Joannes Leonicenus says, that Father Paul disco- 
vered the circulation of the blood, and the valves of the veins; but durst 
not make the discovery public, for fear of exposing himself to trouble ; 
since he was already but too much suspected, and there wanted nothing 
but this new paradox to transform him into an heretic, in a country where the 
Inquisition prevails. For this reason, he entrusted the secret to Aquapen- 
dente alone, who, fearful also of becoming obnoxious, communicated it but 
to a few, and waited till his death, before he would suffer his treatise con- 
cerning the valves of the veins to be presented to the Republic of Venice : 


and as the slightest novelties in that country are apt to create alarm among 
the people, the book was reposited privately in the Library of St. Mark. 
But as Aquapendente had discovered the secret to a curious young English 
gentleman, named Harvey, who studied under him at Padua, and as Father 
Paul at the same time made the same discovery to the English ambassador, 
these two Englishmen upon their return home, being in a country of 
freedom, published it; and having confirmed it by a variety of experiments, 
claimed the whole honour to themselves.' Dr. George Ent, in hi3 letter 
to Harvey, prefixed to his Apologia pro circulatione Sanguinis, attempts to 
refute this account, by observing, that the Venetian ambassador, having 
been presented by Harvey with his book, lent it to Paul, who transcribed 
many things from it, and this among the rest : but there is a very great diffi- 
culty (insuperable!) in this passage of Ent; for it is certain, that Harvey's 
book was not printed till 1628, whereas Paul died in 1623. However, Dr. 
Friend has very well ascertained the sole discovery (yes, so far as mere asser- 
tion goes ; a reed in his hands, of no more force than in others !) of the cir- 
culation to Harvey, by showing, that none of those, to whom it has been 
ascribed, understood the nature and manner of it; and that, though Aqua- 
pendente could discover and describe the valves of the veins, yet he was at 
the same time ignorant of the true use of them, (JJy 5 * so Harvey tells us long 
prior to Friend!) as appears from his own description of them." (And what 
beyond assertion has Friend given ?) The mystery has, assuredly, never been 
completely unfolded ; and if so, the claim has been prematurely awarded ! 
— We return to the Biog. Dictionary. 

Thomas Bartholine, second son of Caspar, born in Oct. 1616, at Co- 
penhagen, an admirable anatomist and most learned man, who, we are told 
here, ought to be reckoned " amongst those who contributed most to the 
progress of physiology, by defending warmly, the doctrine of Lymphatic 
vessels, against the repeated and violent attacks of Harvey, Riolan, Horst, 
and Hoffman." He likewise was one of the first who adopted and defended 
the circulation of the blood, discovered by Harvey ; and he forcibly opposes 
the ridiculous theory of the flux and reflux of this fluid, which Fort. Licetus 
had imagined .'* He acknowledged the heart to be insufficient to propel the 
blood to all parts, and to aid its action, he admitted irritability in the arte- 
rial coats. He thought the air penetrated the blood, and he had noticed 
that the column of air introduced into the bronchia?, is not altogether ex- 
pelled during exspiration." 

Blankaard. — "Tractatus novus de circulatione sanguinis per fibras, nee 
non de valvulis in iis repertis." Amst. 12mo. 1676— 1688.— The author, 
the editor subjoins, admits the continuity between the arteries and the veins, 

* Here we perceive, the Euripus-like movement of the blood, is awarded to an- 
other individual, who was posterior to Harvey ! The more we examine the subject, 
the confusion is more confounded ! 


or rather the junction of these two orders of vessels, by the intermedium of 
a hollow fibre (d'une fibre creuse) furnished with a great number of valves, 
which permit the blood to flow from the artery into the vein, but prevent 
the reverse taking place. 

Francis de le Boe — Sylvius, born in 1614, died Nov. 1672. 

"De le Boe, says the Biographer, would merit a place in the history of 
medicine, of but little honour, had he not been the first professor on the conti- 
nent who dared to embrace and maintain Harvey's opinion of the circulation 
of the blood. In 1658, (thirty years after H.) when occupying the chair of 
practical medicine, he contributed all in his power, and all the ascendency 
of his talent, to spread and confirm that splendid discovery. He appears 
to have been a pretty extensive writer; amongst his works enumerated, are 
" Disputationum medicarum," &c. of which the third is, " De chyli mutatione 
in sanguinem, circulari sanguinis motu, et cordis, arteriarumque pulsu," 
Which probably embraces the particular objects of our present inquiry. 

Boerhaave. — "If we desire to have an idea of the enlarged manner 
(maniere large) in which he marks out the great revolutions of science, it 
is sufficient to cite expressions, by which he cut up those long discussions, 
raised as to the circulation of the blood, and claimed alternately, with 
warmth, by many enlightened nations. Immortalis Harveius demonstra- 
tionibus suis omni priorum theoria eversa, novum omnino, et certum, jecit 
huic basin scientiae. No anatomist, claiming the discovery, loses his 
rights, but Harvey has the happiness and merit of demonstrating it." 

Bohn, John, born 1640. — He admitted, between the arterial and venous 
extremities, an intermediate parenchyma, without which, he could not con- 
ceive that nutrition could take place. Too judicious not to seize with 
avidity upon a truth so important, he propagated with all his power, the 
discovery of the circulation of the blood, and demonstrated it at Pavia, with 
the machine of Boyle. At length, his pupil J. C. Lange stated that he 
injected the bronchial vesicles from the pulmonary artery, and the placenta 
from the uterine arteries, and if he opposed the erroneous ideas of F. de le 
Boe, he imitated his zeal in extending the discovery of Harvey. 

Colombo, (Mat. Realpus) of Cremona, seems to have studied anatomy 
under Vesalius, whose absence he supplied in 1542, and succeeded him, two 
years afterwards. He died at Rome in 1577. "So greatly had the pursuit 
of anatomy been extended, that he dissected forty bodies annually, and 
made several discoveries, one of the most important of ivhich, is that of the. 
pulmonary circulation, which he has described more accurately and clearly 
than Serv.etus ; but he has ascribed to himself many others, of which he 
has been justly divested, and restoration made to their true authors." 

it/ 5 ' This is just as it should be; and an equitable verdict would equally 
divest Harvey of some of his undue pretensions. One, we perceive here, 
in the claim for Colombo himself: but, says Jenty, 

" Servetus first discovered, that the blood passes through the lungs ; 
Colombus went farther, and showed the uses of the valves of the heart, 


which let the blood in and out of their respective vessels, but not in the 
self-same road. Thus the way was just open when Harvey came, who 
built upon the first foundations." Anatomy, vol. 1. Hist. Comp. p. cxxvi. 
At p. cii. Realdus Columbus is said to have flourished about 1544, and 
that he " was intimate with Vesalius, whose public lectures he had fre- 
quently an opportunity of hearing. He is charged by some, with want of 
gratitude to Vesalius, from whom he is said to have stolen every thing that 
is valuable in bis own works : But others maintain, that he had a clearer 
idea of the parts than Vesalius, and described more accurately; and it is 
certain that his Latin is very pure." 

Jenty notices also the use Columbus has ascribed to the lungs, viz. : 

that the blood and vital spirit might be prepared and generated in them, for 
" the blood being attenuated by elaboration in the right sinus of the heart, 
is carried through the vena arteriosa to the lungs ; where, by their continual 
motion, it is agitated, still further attenuated, and mixed with that air which 
is drawn in through the nostrils and mouth, and carried through the rami of 
the aspera arteria to the whole of the lungs; which air is itself prepared by 
this collision : so that the blood and air, being thus mixed, are received into 
the rami of the arteria vena, and at last carried through the trunk itself, 
to the left ventricle of the heart ; from which they are carried through the 
aorta, in every direction, to all parts of the body." 

" Since this opinion, continues Jenty, is largely insisted on by M. Servetus, 
we have reason to suspect, that Columbus borrowed it from him. ({£7" And 
why not Harvey also 1) This also Galen had advanced longbefore Servetus, 
when he says, that when the thorax is contracted, the venous arteries, 
which are in the lungs, being on all hands pent up and compressed, quickly 
throw out the spirit contained in them ; but that they receive some portion 
of blood from the vena arteriosa, by minute and invisible orifices." 

The title of his (Columbus') book was "Realdi Columbi in almo Gym- 
nosia, Patavino anatomici celeberrimi, de re anatomica libri quindecem." 
Venice 1559, Fol. Paris 1572, 8vo. Leyd. 1667, 8vo. 

Carrere, Jos. — Born in 1680, died in his 55th year. Rector of the 
academy of Perpignan. He maintained a thesis against the circulation of 
the blood, entitled, Animadversiones in Circulatores. 

Carrere, Jos. Barthelemy Francois. — Born also at Perpignan, 1740, 
and obtaining the title of Emeritus Professor in that University; he died 
in 1802. In 1764, he wrote a "Dissertatio physiologica de Sanguinis 
circulatione," and another in 1772, " De retrogrado Sanguinis motu." 

Cesalpinus, Andrew. — Born in 1519, at Arezzo in Tuscany. He was 
professor for many years at Pisa, but went to Rome, as first physician to 
Clement VIII., and was made professor in the College de la Sapience. He 
died in 1603. 

His chief title to glory, is that of having known and well described the 
lesser, or pulmonary circulation. He knew that the blood passed from the 


right ventricle into the pulmonary artery, and from it, into the veins of the 
same name, which conveyed it to the left ventricle. His information went, 
in fact, much farther, if we judge from the following passage: "In anima- 
libus videmus alimentum per venas duci ad cor, tanquam ad officinam 
caloris insiti, et, adepta iiiibi ultima perfectione, per arterias in universum 
corpus distribui, agente spirtu, qui ex eodem alimento in corde gignitur." 
If we add to this, that Caesalpinus had noticed the swelling of the veins below 
the ligatures, and the return of the blood by these veins, it cannot be 
doubted, but that he also knew the great circulation; all that was requisite to 
have given him the exclusive honour of this great discovery, was to have de- 
scribed it separately (de la decrire a part), and especially to have been always 
consistent with himself; but overcome by his love for Scholastics, he always 
sacrificed the observation of nature, to his endless disputes on the most 
obscure points of philosophy," &c. 

Among his writings, noticed in the biography, are " Quaestionum peri- 
pateticarum, libri V." 1569, &c. in which appear, apparently, the passages 
which incline us to believe, that he at least suspected the circulation of the 
blood ; but it is added, they are all ambiguous, and their obscurity justifies 
the obstinacy of writers, who, unacquainted with any other, refuse to despoil 
Harvey of a part of his glory, in favour of Caesalpinus ; the above extract 
is taken, we are told, from his treatise, de Plantis, and that it should remove 
all doubts. 

iJT 3 We must be permitted to add, that if the above extract is sufficient 
to remove all doubts as to Caesalpinus' prior claim, fifty may probably be 
found of equal force in Galen. However, it may be as well to know what 
others have said respecting this great man ; and I extract from Jenty's 
Compendium in the 1st. vol. of his Anatomy, p. cvii. et seq. 

He was, says Jenty, a strong champion for the peripatetic doctrine, in 
opposition to Galen, who was at that time reverenced as an oracle. Hence- 
it was, that the writings of Caesalpinus, though very valuable in themselves, 
were neglected ; and those passages which he casually wrote, concerning 
the circulation of the blood, either not adverted to, or not understood, by any, 
till Harvey published his treatise on the subject. (And here, let it be kept 
in mind, w T hilst reading the extracts made by Jenty, from his writings, that 
Harvey has not in the remotest manner alluded to him, or them; yet his 
work was printed before Harvey had begun the study of his profession. 

It would appear that, with Aristotle, he supposed the heart to be the 
source of the arteries, veins, and nerves. In Quest. 4. he proves, that in 
respiration, no external air can have access to the heart; and he has these 
words, " for the membranes are so fitted and adapted to the mouths of the 
vessels, that when the heart is dilated they are opened ; but when it is 
contracted, they are shut." * 

"Some of the vessels, continues he, which terminate in the heart, send 
their contents into it „• such as the vena cava into the right ventricle, and the 
venous artery into the left. Some of them, on the other hand, draw their 



contents from it; as the arteria aorta from the left ventricle, and the arterious 
vein from the right ; hut they all have membranes so fitted and adapted to 
them, that the mouths of the intromitting vessels will not admit of a return, 
and the eliminating vessels will not admit of an intromission. It happens, 
that when the heart is contracting, the arteries are dilated ; and when it is 
dilating itself they are contracted." 

Jy* Here we have in a few lines, the sum and substance of several 
chapters of Harvey ; he has, however, entered more fully into the proof of 
things; but J7* did he not know of this in Caesalpinus 1 

He tells us also, that " the several phenomena appearing upon the dissection 
of a subject, correspond excellently with this circulation of the blood, from 
the right ventricle of the heart, through the lungs to the left ventricle." 
With much to the like effect relating to the cause of respiration, &c. 

The following is not less interesting, as assuredly forestalling much of 

" The veins become turgid beyond the ligature, and not betwixt it and 
the heart; but it ought to have been otherwise, if the motion of the blood 
and spirits had been from the viscera to the several parts of the body. For 
the passage being obstructed, the progressive motion of the blood is stopped, 
so that the veins should have become turgid between the ligature and the 
heart." He here appears to call in the aid of Aristotle, and tide of Euri- 
pus ; but, as I apprehend, to no satisfactory result. Euripus seems to have 
been a kind of watch-word ; as the reader will perceive that it is of frequent 
occurrence in the writings of the day. He goes on, however, more to- the 
purpose, thus, "for the understanding of which passage, we must know that 
the passages of the heart are so contrived by nature, that there is an entry 
from the vena cava to the right ventricle of the heart, from which there is a 
passage into the lungs : and that from the lungs there is another passage 
into the left ventricle of the heart, from which, at last, there is a passage 
into the arteria aorta; certain membranes being fitted to the mouths of the 
vessels, to hinder the return of the fluids : for thus there is a perpetual motion 
from the vena cava through the heart and lungs into the arteria aorta." 

As for some of the speculations or hypotheses, &c. of Caesalpinus, they 
are scarcely more absurd than those of Harvey in most respects ; and cannot ' 
militate against the above plain exhibit of the pulmonary circulation. He 
writes, however, (says Jenty,) " as one would think, very explicitly upon 
this matter; yet we will not take upon us to determine, positively, that he 
knew this affair distinctly. We rather think with Wotton, that this notion 
had only been occasionally and slightly treated of by Columbus and Cae- 
salpinus, who themselves, in all probability, did not know the consequences 
of what they asserted ; and therefore it was never applied to other purposes, 
either to show the uses of the other viscera, or to explain the nature of dis- 
eases : neither, for any thing that appears at this day, had they made such 
numbers of experiments as were necessary to explain their doctrine, and to 
clear it from opposition. All this Dr. Harvey undertook to do, and with 

192 U'PJfiNDlX. 

indefatigable pains traced the visible veins and arteries throughout the body, 
in their whole progress from and to the heart, so as to demonstrate, even to 
the most incredulous, not only that blood circulates through the lungs and 
heart; but the very manner how, and the time, in which that great work is 

17" Compare also what is said of Caesalpinus by Senac, on the heart; 
and Sprengel in his Histoire de la Medicine. What Friend has stated, is 
to be seen in one of the papers preceding this essay ! and with this and 
more, let the reader anxiously determine what part, if any, of the pulmonary 
circulation is due to Harvey ! 

Chaillou, James, a French physician of the seventeenth century. In the 
following named work, he admits the reality of the circulation, but endea- 
vours to prove that it was known to Hippocrates. 

"Recherches sur l'origine du movement du sang, du cceur et de ses 
vaisseaux, &c. Paris 1664, &c. 

Charlton, Walter, born 1619 — like Harvey, he was physician to 
Charles I., and member of the college, having graduated in 1642. In 1678 
the University of Padua offered him the chair of Practical Medicine, which 
he accepted at first, but subsequently refused it : in 1680 he was chosen by 
the college to give the lectures on anatomy, and in 1689, he was elected the 
President of that body. His greatest merit, says his Biographer, consisted 
in his showing himself one of the warmest partisans of the circulation of 
the blood : and strove by every means to deprive the liver of the important 
rank assigned to it in the doctrine of hematosis. His works connected with 
the circulation, are apparently, Oratio Anniversaria, &c. in 1680, in praise of 
Harvey ; and three anatomical lectures on the motion of the blood through 
the heart and arteries, &c. 1683. 

Conring, Herman born 1606, graduated in 1636, and died in 1681. He 
appears to have been held in the highest estimation; amongst one hundred 
treatises at least, we find one entitled Diss, de sanguinis generatione etmotu 
natural!, 1643. It is remarked, that he is the first who taught the circulation 
of the blood, at Helmstaedt, where he was professor. 

Ent, George, born in 1603. "A zealous partisan of Harvey, he defend- 
ed with much skill and constancy, the circulation of the blood, without 
however being able to avoid mistakes and paradoxes." The title of his 
work is " Apologia pro circulatione sanguinis, qua respondetur jEmilio 
Parisano." Lond. 1641. and 1685. 8vo. 

Fabri, Honore, a Jesuit, born in 1606. He had, says his biographer, 
the audacity to appropriate to himself the discovery of the circulation of the 
blood, and his confrere, le P. Regnault, delighted to add a fresh wreath to 
the honour of his company, did not hesitate to adjudge it to him. The 
author of the Ancient origin of the new doctrineof natural philosophy, depends 
on Fabri's having taught the doctrine in 1638 ; but Harvey preceded him 
by ten years : adding, moreover, that the treatise is a tissue of plagiarisms. 



Folli, Cecilius, bom in 1615, and a professor of anatomy ; he published 
a treatise at Venice in 1639, 4to. entitled, 

"Sanguinis a dextro in sinistrum cordis ventriculum defluentis facilis 
reperta via ; cui non vulgaris in lacteas nuper patefactas venas animadver- 
sio praeponitur." 

, Folli, Francis, a contemporary, born in 1624, and a physician at the 
court of the Medici — he died in 1685 — and was one of the most ardent pro- 
pagators of the discovery of the circulation, and the first to try transfusion. 
His treatise is, 

" Recreatio physica, in qua de sanguinis et omnium viventium universali 
analogica circulatione disseritur." Flor. 1665. 

Fouquet, Henry, born in 1727— died, 1806. Though highly noticed in 
the Biographical Dictionary, is introduced here, merely to mention a work 
of his, " Praelectiones medicae decern, habita; in Ludovicse medico Monspe- 
liensi," &c. Montpel. 1777, 12mo. The first and second are connected 
with our present object, viz., 

De certis et dubiis in systemate Harveano de circulatione Sanguinis. 

De veterum doctrina. circa sanguificationem. Neither of which have I 

Fabrizio, Jerome. Fabricius ab Jlquapendenfe, from the place of his 
birth, in 1537 ; appears to have been one of the most learned men of his 
age : he was educated at the university of Padua, in which he was subse- 
quently the successor to Fallopius, in the anatomical chair, in 1565, for 
fifty years ; he died in 1 619, at the age of eighty-two. He disco vered, says 
his biographer, the valves in the veins ; although thirty years previously, 
Etienne, Cannani, and de la Boe, had spoken of them ; their existence was 
contested by the anatomists of the period, especially by Vesalius, Eusta- 
chius and Fallopius. But for the researches of Fabricius on the valves, 
perhaps his pupil Harvey would not have confirmed the circulation, sus- 
pected by Caesalpinus and Servetus. 

The works of this great man were numerous— those which are principally 
connected with the subject before us, are, 

"De formato Fcetu." Padua, 1600, fol. reprinted several times. 

" De Venarum ostiolis." Padua, 1603—1605, fol. In this, his labours 
on the valves appear; and it is of course, one of the most remarkable that 
has been published on anatomy. 

"De Respiratione et ejus instrumentis libri duo." Padua, 1615. 

" De forraatione Ovi et Pulli." Padua, 1621. 

Jenty has said respecting him, at p. cxxii. of his Compend, what is, 
indeed, a confirmation of the above: we are there informed, "that he first 
obsewed the valves of the veins in 1574, of which, it is said, he was informed 
by Father Paul ; but he was not acquainted with their structure or uses." 

Compare also, Friend, Senac, and Sprengel. 

GALEN "Speaks very distinctly of the movements of the systole and 

diastole of the heart. A passage in one of his books, (Introd. ad Medic, 



p. 373. edition not mentioned,) seems to show that he had some idea of 
the circulation ; Aristotle, persuaded of the flow of blood from the heart 
to the extremities, regarded its return as probable. Galen admitted that 
the blood was carried by the pulmonary artery into the lungs to nourish 
them, and that apart of it returned to the heart." 

All this, like most of the references to Galen in any way, is far too 
meagre an account of what that great man knew on the subject. Indeed, 
the more 1 look into his writings, the more am I persuaded, that by far the 
greater part of the information attributed to him, is not from personal in- 
vestigation of his works, but derived from some previous author, who 
often quotes at random, or at least in a way so general, as to preclude the 
finding the passage in question. I propose here, to introduce a very few 
references to his writings, merely to enable any one, who chooses to look 
into them, to find a clue for further investigation as to his real knowledge 
of the circulation. The edition referred to, is that of Basil, 1549, by 

Comment, in lib. Hippoc. de Natura Hominis — 1. p. 139 B. " Eodem 
modo habet, to proficisci," p. 140. Nay, even to p. 144, the reader's time 
would not be lost. 

De atrabile. — Frob. p. 154. Of the blood — its colour — consistence, &c, in 
arteries and veins — coagulation out of and in the vessels, and other parts. 
Its tar-like appearance — arterial and venous blood the same. 

P. 163. Some remarks relative to the atrabilis being, (as one of the 
humours of the body,) contained in the blood, which go to accredit his be- 
lief in a circulation. " Forte igitur, &c, to commeet." 

De bona habitudine. — Frob. p. 174. In speaking of the Athletae, and their 
training, &c, he notices that sometimes, from their augmented diet, or 
increased plethora, (sanguine nimium aucto,) they are suffocated; or break 
a blood-vessel of the lungs or liver, &c; and he gives from Hippocrates 
the case of sudden loss of speech from vascular repletion. 

An sanguis in arteriis natura contineatur. — Frob. p. 213. The proposi- 
tion is fully sustained by Galen, in opposition to Erasistratus and others, 
by reasons and experiments altogether unanswerable. The dispute at that 
period seems to have been, as to whether air, or blood, or both, were 
naturally contained in the arteries. And his opponents, by no means de- 
cided amongst themselves; are regularly pursued in their explanations, and 
their difficulties and absurdities are pointed out. A question is proposed 
for Erasistratus himself to resolve, viz., what would result from the wound 
of an artery in the arm'? and which he presumes could be replied to only in 
the way he points out — and which it would seem nearly impossible for him 
to explain so clearly, if he had not, not only a belief in a circulation, but 
also, a tolerably perfect idea of its route — p. 218. " Cogita quxso, &c, to 
erumpere. It would appear from his words, that, connected with other parts 
of his writings, we cannot well deny him such ideas. Whilst in a further 
part, he mentions other difficulties which the doctrines of Erasistratus 


abound with ; and he explains how the arteries are filled ; and maintains the 
power of the heart in distending the arteries; referring to a further con- 
sideration of this, in the work " de Decretis Hippoc. et Platonis." Adverting 
also to the experiment which Harvey has noticed, of introducing a hollow 
tube into an artery, &c, and which I have more than once referred to, in 
my remarks on Harvey's claim to be considered the discoverer of the cir- 

In his treatise "de Causi's Pulsuum," lib. 3., he enters into an explanation 
of the operation of the so called non-naturals, in promoting the action and 
changes of the pulse — of the influence of age, &c, on it — of artificial habits, 
and other causes, &c. ; and in the fourth book, he treats of its modification 
by various preternatural causes, as emotions and passions of the mind, and 
sundry diseases — and in a manner which ably maintains the hand of a 

In the fifth book of his treatise, " de Jlnatomicis administrationibus,'' , 
which is itself imperfect from the fifth chapter of the ninth book ; we find 
cause to regret, that, besides this, the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, 
fourteenth and fifteenth books, are also lost. And he moreover notices a 
" decimus sextus illius operis liber, agit de arteriis, venis et ?iervis," in which, 
says he, I have explained what is commonly and generally known respect- 
ing them. The loss of this is especially to be regretted, since it would 
probably have better enabled us exactly to appreciate the full extent of his 
knowledge and views respecting the circulation ! 

In the seventh book, he gives an account of the pleura and pericardium, 
and draws a comparison of the former with the peritonaeum — then speaks of 
the heart and arteries ; of the different opinions respecting the vessels of 
the lungs, and of the pulse — wherein much is to be learned as to the views 
of a circulation — and may go far in the consideration of the question as to 
its discovery. In one part of it we find the following words : (Froben. 
p. 353 A.) 

" Quales igitur toto corpore existunt arteriae, tale vas ex dextro cordis 
sinu procedens, in totum pulmonem ramorum serie diffunditur. Quales 
autem venae, tale ex sinistro ; ut ex tribus vasis pulmonem intertexentibus, 
quod a sinistro cordis ventriculo proficiscitur, arteria venosa nuncupetur, 
quod a dextro, arteriosa vena," &c. 

In ch. 14, 15, of this book, he proceeds to state what is to be seen in the 
thorax on dissecting a living animal. It is an interesting statement, 
and in more than one place, seems to bear considerably on the general 
circulation. The pulsations of both sides of the heart are particularly 
adverted to ; and even the ultimate motion of the auricles, at long intervals, 
after that of the ventricles has altogether ceased. Here, too, we find him 
again opposing the opinion of the arteries containing air. 

His highly interesting book " de utilitate Respirationis''' is not wanting in 
remarks, that seem more or less applicable to an idea of a circulation ; and 


in one part, it seems probable, that even Erasistratus had an imperfect con- 
ception of the pulmonary circuit. 

In his book "de Pulsuum usu," the doctrine of a circulation appears by 
no means obscurely upheld, although the language may not exactly conform 
to present views; and yet, in technicality, it is probably nearly as correct 
as that of the present day ; and kw would write as he has done in this 
book, who had not a strong conception of the necessity and use of a circu- 
lation ; and of the close connexion of the arteries and veins. Thus, after 
sundry considerations, he comes to the following conclusion : " Et cum semper 
vacuatas cum arteriis venas deprehendissemus, veram esse sententiam de com- 
munibus artcriarum et venarum osculis, et communi de una in alteram per ea 
transitu, nobis persuasimus" &c. 

It will no doubt be objected, that Galen here implies a mutual transmis- 
sion from arteries to veins, and from veins to arteries ; nevertheless, 
although this seems prima facie his meaning, I am disposed, from other 
parts of his writings, to doubt if such was the case; and here especially, 
the loss of the sixteenth book of his anatomy, treating of the blood-vessels, 
is much to be lamented. I shall advert to one fact alone from him, as it is 
made use of by Plempius, see p. 35 ; who there quotes it in proof of Galen's 
acquaintance with the anastomosis of the vessels. " Si multis amplisque 
arteriis prxcisis jugulare per eas animal velis, invenies ejus venae, aeque atque 
arterias vacuatas ; quod sane nunquam fieret, nisi inter se haberent altera 
in alteram ora reclusa." De Nat. facult. lib. 3. cap. 15. 

In the sixth book of his treatise " de usu partium," we find the passage 
adverted to by Harvey, wherein the connexion of arteries and veins is ex- 
plicitly sustained. " In toto corpore mutua est anastomosis, atque oscillo- 
rum apertio arteriis simul et venis," &c. And here we likewise find his 
explanation of the use of the valves of the heart, and a description of them ; 
(11th chap.) and his language shows, moreover, that he comprehended the 
nature and influence of the right side of the heart. In the 17th ch. of this 
book, again maintaining, in opposition to Erasistratus, that the arteries 
contain blood, he also renews his opinion of the anastomosis of arteries and 
veins; " orificiorum arteriarum ad venas apertiones non sine causa neque 
frustra paravit natura, sed ut respirationis ac pulsuum utilitas non cordi soli 
atque arteriis, sed cum eis, venis etiam distribueretur," &c. 

The sixteenth book "de usu partium," seems one that goes very far, both 
by implication and directly, in support of the opinion, that a circulation 
was known to, and taught by Galen. So continual are those implications, 
as to forbid their adscription to accident alone ; but rather to place them 
to the result of well-founded opinions, arising from facts insulated in 
themselves, but strongly supporting each other, and the common doc- 
trines to which they may give rise. The book in question considers the 
distribution of the vessels throughout the body. The artery, vein, and 
nerve, he calls, here and elsewhere, the common instruments of the body, 
entering into the composition of every part; and the great equality of the 


distribution of the veins by nature, and the community of use of arteries 
and veins, is pretty explicitly affirmed. To every reasonable mind, it is 
believed, that enough may here be found to satisfy it, that the views and 
researches of Galen, into the mysteries of the circulation, were pretty ex- 
tended ; and that from the hitherto very limited references to his writings, 
on this particular, especially by Harvey himself, the medical public has 
really been kept altogether ignorant of what he has so largely considered 
in so many of his works. 

In several of the books of his treatise, entitled, " de Hippocratis et Pla- 
tonis Decretis" we find many allusions to a circulation also laid down, 
adequate to stagger the usual adscription of its discovery to Harvey. In 
the 7th ch. of the first book, he says, "E sinistro enim cordis sinu arteria 
maxima exoritur, quasi quidam arteriarum omnium truncus, quae per totum 
animalis corpus distribuuntur," and opposing an opinion held by Erasis- 
tratus, that arteries terminated in nerves. In the second of these books, 
he states the difference of cutting the three species of vessels; (the nerves 
being considered as tubular, were so regarded :) immediate death from the 
immoderate effusion of blood, by dividing the jugular veins or carotid arte- 
ries, unless prevented by tying them up ; whilst if the nerve only be tied, 
or cut, or compressed, the animal merely loses his voice. The sixth book 
is no less important in numerous particulars, tending to elucidate Galen's 
ideas of a circulation, and even showing that an idea of it was not unknown 
to Plato himself. 

What can be conceived of by others, as to the peculiar views of Galen 
respecting the circulation, from the following sentence from his treatise 
" de formatione Fcetuum," I know not ; but it seems to me to admit of but 
one plausible construction, that of an extensive and well grounded appre- 
hension of a general flow of blood throughout the system. " Tantum igitur 
hoc habeo, quod de causa animalium formatrice asserere posse existimem, 
quod summa in ea ars, summaque sapientia inest, quodque postea, quod 
formatum corpus fuerit universum, id in toto vitas curriculo tribus motuum 
principiis, ex cerebro per nervos et musculos ; ex corde per arterias, et 
jecore per venas gubernatur." Other quotations might not unaptly be 

Time and space are, however, wanting to go through the other divisions 
of his writings, to sustain and strengthen what I have above presented to 
the reader. I will, therefore, notice but one more from his treatise 
"de Tremore, Palpitatione, Convulsione, et Rigore," 3. 195. In the fifth 
chapter, considering the locality and causes of palpitation, and adverting to 
the propriety of bleeding in some of those cases, although opposed by many, 
he proceeds to note the statement of Hippocrates ; and mentions, from 
whence blood should be drawn in certain cases, in a manner that, strength- 
ens, I think, greatly what we have urged as to his views of a circulation. 
Indeed, the whole of this book indicates that practical experience in blood- 
letting; that, if he is denied a knowledge of Us route, sufficiently evidences, 


that such knowledge, considered simply in itself, can be of no important ad- 
vantage. And if Hippocrates and Galen, without a knowledge of the cir- 
culation, have probably never been surpassed as practitioners, let the 
adherents of the Harveian claim, fairly point out the real advantage that 
medicine and its branches have attained by his asserted discovery. 

Gericke, Peter. — Born 1693, and was a Professor of Anatomy atHelm- 
staedt in 1730, and died in 1750. He published a tract in 4to, in 1733, at 
Helmstaedt, entitled " Programma de venarum valvulis, earumque usu." 
The biographer adds, that he attributed the discovery of the valves of the 
veins to Michael Servetus : and proposes the whimsical notion, that these 
folds (replis) are less intended to prevent the blood from retrograding, than 
to prevent the too great distention of the sides of the veins. 

Vidus Viduus, — (Guido Gui,) of Florence, more known under the name 
of V. Viduus. We have already referred to this excellent writer in the pre- 
ceding part of our inquiry. 

Hannemann, John Louis In 1675 appointed to a professorship at Kiel, 

which he filled for fifty years. A copious writer, but, says his biographer, 
he would not have been remembered, unless he had shown himself to be 
one of the most declared adversaries to the circulation, and if his animosity 
to the beautiful discovery of Harvey, had not brought on him a most severe 
censure by Thorn. Bartholin. The following would seem to be his writings 
connected with the subject: it may be remarked, he first studied divinity. 

" Ovum Harveianum generationis animantium curiosum. Quo demon- 
stratur adversus materialistas, quod generatio animalium fiat ex nihilo." 
Kiel, 1675. 4to. 

"Exercitatio de vero et genuino sanguificandi organo ad Thorn. Bartho- 
linum." Kiel, 1675. 4to. 

" De Motu Cordis." Kiel, 1706. 4to. 

Harder, John Jacques, German anatomist, born 1656 — died 1711. He 
appears to have taken up the subject in the following treatises. 

" De naturalis et praeternaturalis sanguificationis in humano corpore his- 
toria." Bale, 1690. 4to. 

" De Sanguinis motu vitali." Bale, 1694. 4to. 

"De Chyli secretione et distributione." Bale, 1698. 4to. 

Hofmannus, Caspar, born 1572 — died 1648. He appears to have been 
i an extensive writer. A few of his productions seem connected with our 
subject, and he is probably the Hoffmann whose name appears in Harvey's 
treatise, ch. . It may be remarked that he was five years older than 
Harvey, who survived him about ten years. The subject of the circulation, 
and the disputes respecting it, must necessarily have been familiar to him. 
I have none of his works connected therewith. 

"Dissert, de usu venarum et arteriarum mesaraicarum." Altdorf, 1616. 

"Dissert, de usu venae arteriosae et arteriae venosae." Altdorf, 1618. 

"Diss, depulmone, ejusque usu secundum Aristotelem." Altdorf, 1622. 

" Dissert, de Sanguine." Altdorf, 1622. 


"De Thorace, ej usque partibus," &c. Frankf., 1627. 

" Problema, cur natura fecerit duo vasa sang-uiflua, venas et arterias." 
Altdorf, 1627. 

Hoffmann, Maurice, bom 1622, and professor of anatomy in Altdorf in 
1648, after the death of the preceding Caspar. He filled several chairs 
successively during fifty years. 

"Dissert de Motu Cordis et Cerebri, sanguinisque ac spirituum anima- 
lium perpetuo, pro vitae continuatione, per corpus commeatur." Alt., 1653. 

" Dissert, de transitu sanguinis per septum cordis impossibili contra 
Galenum et Riolanum, anatomicum Paris, ejus defensorem." Alt., 1659. 

"Dissert, de transitu sanguinis per medios pulmones facili, contra 
Riolanum ejus osorem." Altdorf, 1659. 

Humeau, Francis, M. D., born 1628, at Poitiers. Wrote against the 
Harveian discovery, 

" In circulationem sanguinis Harveianum exercitatio anatomica." 
Poitiers, 1659. 

Kyper, Albert, professor at Breda in 1646. 

" Institutiones medicae ad hypothesin de circulari sanguinis motu com- 
positae." Amsterdam, 1654. 

" Anthropologia, corporis humani contentarum et animae naturam et vir- 
tutis secundum circularem sanguinis motum explicans." Leyd., 1647. 

Leichner, Eccard, born 1612, made professor at Erfurt, in 1646. 

" De motu sanguinis exercitatio anti-Harveiana." Arnstadt, 1645. 

Hecquet, Philip, born 1661. This most excellent man and physician, 
is the one so unjustly satirized by Le Sage, under the denomination ol 
Dr. Sangrado. He is mentioned here, merely because I find in his biogra- 
phy, a statement that has a slight bearing on the subject of the circulation. 
" Avec Stahl et Keill, il admettait a l'extremite des vaisseaux une substance 
spongieuse et vesiculate, servant de reservoir aux reliquats des sues super- 
flus pour la nutrition." 

Heister, Laurence, born 1683, one of the most celebrated anatomists of 
Germany, and an extensive writer; amongst his works are, 

" Programma quo inquiretur : an sanguinis circulus veteribus fuit in- 
cognitus." Altdorf, 1714. 4to. 

" Programma," apparently a new edition of the preceding. Helm- 
staedt. 1721. 4to. 

Linden, J. Ant. Vander, born 1609, died in 1664. Professor at Leyden. 
Among his writings, are, 

"Hippocratis de circuitu sanguinis." Leyd., 1661. 

Lischwitz, J. Christopher, German professor at Leipsicand Kiel, bom 
1693, died 1743. 

" Dissert, an aer ex pulmonibus substantialiter transeat ad sanguinem." 
Kiel, 1735. 
" Dissert, de principio venarum." Kiel, 1736. 


Lower, Richard, bom 1631, died 1691. 

" Tractatus de corde ; item de motu et colore sanguinis, et chyli in eura 
transitu." Lond., 1665. 

Maurocordato, Alex., of Scio, born 1636, died in 1711. Only one 
production connected with medicine, viz., his Thesis, 

" Pneumaticum instrumentum circulandi sanguinis, sive de motu et usu 
pulmonum dissertatio philosophico-medica." Bologne, 1661. 

Parisano, Emile, of Rome, studied at Padua under Aquapendente, pro- 
bably therefore contemporaneous with Harvey, as a pupil, since he was 
born the same year, 1577. He was, apparently, one of the "momes and 
detractors," with whom Harvey would have nothing to do. Among his 
writings are, 

" Nobilium exercitationura," part 1, Venice, 1623 — part 2, 1635 — part 3, 
1638. In the second part we have his treatise, entitled 

"De Cordis et Sanguinis motu ad Guil. Harveum." 

Pecquet, John, bom in , died in 1674. His biographer says, he 

contributed greatly by his reasoning and his discoveries, to prove the circu- 
lation of the blood, which still had some opponents. One of his treatises 
is entitled, 

"De circulatione Sanguinis et chyli motu dissertatio." 

Pietre, Simon, son-in-law to Riolan, who concealed him during the 
bloody massacre of St. Bartholomew ; had a son of the same name, sur- 
named It Grand — of whose writings, the following seem to appertain to our 
subject : 

"Disputatio de vero usu anastomoseon vasorum cordis in embryo." 
Tours, 1593. 

" Nova demonstratio et vera historia anastomoseon vasorum cordis in 
embryo cum corollario de vitali facultate cordis in eodem embryo non 
otiosa." Same place and year. 

Pitcairn, Arch., born 1652, and held a professor's chair at Leyden. 
Among his writings, are 

"De sanguinis circulatione in animalibus genitis et non genitis." 
Leyden, 1693. 

" De causis diversae molis qua fluit sanguis per pulmonem, in natis et 
non natis." Same year and date. 

" De motu sanguinis per vasa minima." Idem. 

We have amply extracted from his writings, in the course of our 

Primrose, James— Born at Bordeaux, graduated at Montpellier in 1617, 
and went to England, with a high reputation, and was soon known by his 
success in practice. He died in 1660. His works, which appear to have 
brought down so many anathemas on his head, are the following, 

" Exercitationes et animadversiones in librum de motu cordis et circula- 
tione sanguinis, adversus Guil. Harveum." Lond. 1630. 


" Animadversiones in J. Walaei disputationem quam pro circulatione san- 
guinis proposuit." Amsterd. 1639. 

"Animadversiones in theses quas pro circulatione sanguinis in Academia 
Ultrajectensi Henricus Leroy proposuit." Leyd. 1640. 

"Destructio fundamentorum medicine Vopisci Fortunati Plernpii." 
Rotterd. 1657. 

Something further respecting Primrose will be found in other parts of this 

Riolan, John, father and son. The elder Riolan appears to have gradu- 
ated about the period of Harvey's birth. He died in 1G06; of consequence 
prior to the enunciation of the circulation. It was Riolan, Jr. who was the 
opponent of Harvey; and, like Primrose, was born in the same year with 
him, 1577. He graduated at Paris in 1604, and was named Prof, of 
anatomy and botany in 1613. He was first physician to Mary of Medicis. 
He died at the age of eighty, having twice been cut for the stone (subi deux 
fois la cystotomie.) His writings connected with the subject of our con- 
sideration, were 

"Opuscula anatomica nova." Lond. 1649. — In which, says his biogra- 
pher, the person who fully proved the circulation, was worried. Is it 
possible, adds he, that this could have been printed in London 1 ? The 
very stones would rise in England against those who depreciate the national 
glory. Another edition, in Paris, in 1652, is principally directed against 
the circulation of the blood. 

"Responsio prima edita, anno 1652, ad experimenta nova anatomica, 
Joannis Pecqueti adversus haematosim in corde, ut chylus hepati restituatur, 
et nova Riolani de circulatione sanguinis doctrina sarta tecta conservetur." 
Paris 1655. 

Rolfink, Werner — Born 1599. 

"Dissert, de chylificatione et circulatione sanguinis," Jena, 1632. 

" • de circulatione," Jena, 1642. 

Rudbeck, Olaus — Born 1630. 

"Dissertatio de circulatione sanguinis," Westeras, 1652. 

SERVETUS, MICHAEL— Born 1509, burnt Oct. 27, 1553. "In his 
Christianismi restitutio (1553. Vienne in Dauphiny), he has, in the 5th 
book, positively asserted, that the whole mass of blood passes through the 
lungs, by means of the pulmonary artery and veins. It is this which has 
given him a distinguished place, in the history of anatomy." 

JT^This is too concise an account, by far, of the statement of Servetus; 
and we therefore think no apology necessarj for introducing the whole 
extract from the work in question ; as we find zpart thereof, ready translated 
to our hands, in the Compend of Jenty, we shall make use of it, and in its 
proper place introduce that portion which is omitted, though why, we can- 
not say. 

It may be premised that the works of Servetus possessed by me, are in 
4to, entitled " Historia Michaelis Serveti," printed at Helmstadt, by H. A. 



AUwoerden, 1727, &c. And in the proemium, the author, § 9, thus ex- 
presses himself. "Animus nobis erat in hanc inprimis quaestionem accu- 
rate inquirere : an Servetus dudum ante Harveium circulationem sanguinis 
invenissef? Affirmant id doctissimi homines, rerumque medicarum expe- 
rientissimi: ex quibus nunc Godofr. Guil. Leibnitzium,* Henr. Wottonum,f 
Sam. Massonum,^: Josephum Morlandum,§ Jacob. Douglasium,|| tantum 
nomino. Atque fateor, verba ejus, quae Sam. Crellius,1f preter alios publice 
legenda dedit, in hanc pene sententiam Lectores inducere. Nos auxilio 
inprimis viri in his rebus magni celeberrimique Laurentii Heisteri negotium 
hoc conficere cogitabimus." The above may prove useful to future inquirers 
on the subject, and I proceed now to the extract referred to, and which is 
to be found at p. 231 of the above history of Servetus, and translated in 
part by Jenty, at p. 100 of his Historical Compend. 

"There are, says he, in the human body spirits of three different kinds; 
the natural, animal, and vital ; which are really not three, but two, distinct 
spirits. The vital is that which is communicated, by anastomoses from 
the arteries to the veins; in which it is called natural: the blood therefore 
is first; whose seat is in the liver and veins. The vital spirit is second, 
whose seat is in the heart and arteries. The animal spirit is third ; which 
is like a ray of light, and has its seat in the brain and nerves." Here, 
Jenty has omitted more than half a page of matter, which I give in the ori- 
ginal of Servetus, p. 231. " In his omnibus est unius spiritus et lucis Dei 
energia. Quod a corde communicetur hepati spiritus ille naturalis, docet 
hominis formatio ab utero. Nam arteria mittitur juncta venae per ipsius 
foetus umbilicum, itidemque in nobis postea semper junguntur arteria et 
vena. In cor est priusquam in hepar a Deo inspirata Adae anima, et ab eo 
hepati communicata. Per inspirationem in os et nares est vere inducta 
anima. Inspiratio autem ad cor tendit. Cor est primum vivens, fons caloris 
in medio corpore. Ab hepate sumit liquorem vitae, quasi materiam et eum 
vice versa vivificat. Sicut aquae liquor superioribus elementis materiam 
suppeditat, et ab, eis juncta luce ad vegetandum vivificatur. Ex hepatis 
sanguine est animae materia, per elaborationem mirabilem, quam nunc 
audies. Hinc dicitur anima esse in sanguine, et anima ipsa est sanguis, sive 
sanguineus spiritus. Non dicitur anima principaliter esse in parietibus 
cordis, aut in corpore ipso cerebri, aut hepatis, sed in sanguine, ut docet 
ipse Deus, Gen. 9. Levit. 17. et Deuter. 12." 

I should be much pleased if any person could suggest a reason, why 

* Discours de la conformite de la foy avec la raison §xi. p. 17. et in litteris 
ad summe ven. nostrum prassidem a. 1717. d. 24. Sept. exaratis. 
t Reflections upon Learning, p. 42. 
t Histoire critique de la repub. des Lettr. Tom. vi. p. 350. 
§ Disquisitions concerning the force of the heart. Lond. 1714. 8. p. 79. 
|| In specimine Bibliographiae anatomicee, p. 189. Lond. 1715,8. 
1T In Bibl. Bremensi, class. I. Fasc. v. p. 757. 


Jenty should have left out of his translation this, not unimportant, part of 
an extract, wherein we find Harvey forestalled in more than one particular ! 
We go on now to Jenty's continuation. 

"Now to understand how the blood rs the life, he (that is, Servetus) 
says, we must first understand the substantial generation of the vital spirit, 
which is compounded of, and nourished by, inspired air and the subtilest 
part of the blood. The vital spirit has its original in the left ventricle of 
the heart, by the assistance of the lungs, which chiefly contribute to its 
generation. It is a subtil spirit wrought by the force of heat, of a florid 
(qulflavo colore) colour, having the power of fire; so that it is a sort of 
shining vapour, made of the purer part of the blood, containing within, in 
itself, the substance of water, air and fire. It is made in the lungs by the 
mixture of inspired air with that elaborated subtil blood which the right 
ventricle of the heart communicates to the left. Now that this communica- 
tion is not made through the septum of the heart, as is commonly believed; but 
the subtil blood is very artificially agitated by a long passage through the 
lungs from the right ventricle of the heart, and is prepared, made florid by the 
lungs, and transfused out of the arterious vein into the venous artery ,■ and, at 
last, in the venous artery itself, it is mixed with the inspired air, and by ex- 
piration purged from its dregs,- and thus, at length, the whole mixture is 
attracted, by the diastole of the heart, into the left ventricle, being now a 
fit substance out of which to form the vital spirit. 

" Now that this communication and preparation is made by the lungs, is 
evident, from the various conjunction and communication of the arterious 
vein with the venous artery in the lungs : The remarkable largeness, of the 
arterious vein likewise confirms it, since it would never have been made of 
that form and bulk; nor would it have emitted so great a quantity of very 
pure blood out of the heart into the lungs, if it had been only for their nou- 
rishment; nor would the heart have been this way serviceable to the lungs, 
since the foetus in the womb is otherwise nourished, by reason of the close- 
ness of the membranes (ob membranulas illas, seu valvulas cordis) of the 
heart, which are never opened till the birth of the child, as Galen teaches." 

Here again Jenty omits an extract of some importance, which is as fol- 
lows: "Ergo ad alium usum effunditur sanguis a corde in pulmones hora 
ipsa nativitatis et tam copiosus. Item a pulmonibus ad cor non simplex 
aer, sed mixtus sanguine mittitur per arteriam venosam. Ergo in pulmo- 
nibus fit mixtio. Flavus ille color a pulmonibus datur sanguini spirit- 
uoso, non a corde. In sinistro cordis ventriculo non est locus capax tantee 
et tam copiosse mixtionis, nee ad flavum elaboratio ilia surficiens. Demum 
paries ille medicus, cum sit vasorum et facultatum expers, non estaptus ad 
communicationem et elaborationem illam, licet aliquid resudare possit. 
Eodem artificio, quo in hepate fit transfusio a vena porta ad venam cavam 
propter sanguinem, fit etiam in pulmone transfusio a vena arteriosa ad arte- 
riam venosam propter spiritum. Si quis haec conferat cum iis, quae scribit 
Galenus, lib. G et 7, de usu partium, veritatem penitus intelliget, ab ipso 


Galeno non animadversum." In place of this very interesting extract 
which immediately follows the part above of his translation, Jenty has 
added, what 1 cannot find in Servetus, "So that the whole mixture of fire 
and blood is made in the lungs, where there is a transfusion out of the 
arterious vein into the venous artery, which Galen took no notice of." If he 
meant this concise statement as the translation of the above, or as conveying 
its just meaning, I think he has acted unfairly toward Servetus. He pro- 
ceeds thus in his translation of what follows the above. " This vital spirit 
is transmitted, from the left ventricle of the heart, into the arteries of the 
whole body ; so that the more subtil parts get upwards, where they are yet 
more refined, especially in the plexus retiformis, which lies in the base of 
the brain ; where, from vital, it begins to become animal, and approaches 
the proper nature of the animal soul." 

He here terminates his quotation, and we find enough in it to perceive, 
how much is actually stated, of which, without the slightest acknowledge- 
ment, Harvey made use ! We must, however, conclude with his own re- 
marks, following directly on his translation. "The circulation, says he, 
of the blood, is a discovery of such importance, that every one who gives 
the remotest hints of it, has some party to take him by the hand, and canon- 
ize him as the first discoverer. Thus Hippocrates, Galen, and a great 
many more, have had their respective champions, in this particular, who 
have pronounced boldly, either one way or the other, just as whim and 
caprice directed them. But as such a turn of mind is a disgrace to philo- 
sophy, and a reproach to human nature, whose glory and dignity consist in 
shaking off prejudice, and adhering inviolably to truth, wherever it can be 
found; so we will not absolutely pronounce, that Servetus knew the doc- 
trine of the blood's circulation : But it is certain, that the first step made to 
this noble and useful discovery, was the finding that the whole mass of 
blood passes through the lungs by the pulmonary artery and vein. Now 
that Servetus had a pretty distinct idea of this matter, is sufficiently plain, 
from the foregoing passages : but he talked in too vague and indetermined 
a manner, to be esteemed a full and uncontested discoverer." In these 
remarks I entirely coincide, and especially the last part, which, mutatis 
mutandis, will nearly as well apply to Harvey, who has most certainly in 
many parts, talked quite as vaguely and indeterminedly as Servetus. 

In justice, however, to Servetus, I must repeat the question, why Jenty 
has omitted a part of Servetus' extract, which is absolutely of the highest 
importance, in supporting his claim. There is a want of candour in this, 
which is deserving of reproach : but in 1766, or nine years after Jenty, 
appeared the 4to edition of the college to which I have referred ; in the life 
of Harvey thereto attached, p. 15, we find him defended from the prior 
claims of others, and of Servetus amongst them. Equally with Jenty, the 
highest injustice is done to Servetus, by omitting parts, that actually tend 
to illustrate either what follows, or what has preceded : parts again are 
found at the conclusion, or rather located where its connexion is less im- 


poTtant, than where Servetus had placed it. Some words differ from Ser- 
vetus, as ejicitur for efficitur, and a few are omitted; the stops differ in 
several places ; and, as I think, alter the meaning. Upon the whole, 
either accidentally or intentionally, I think Servetus might well apply the 
old proverb to himself, in his relation to the college, and to Jenty : between 
two stools he fell to the ground. 

In the very admirable Introduction to Senac's treatise on the structure of 
the heart, wherein he gives us a detail of the individuals to whom the dis- 
covery of the circulation has been ascribed, we find likewise, p. 77, this 
notice of Servetus adverted to, and the same imperfect kind of extract is 
made from his writings. The whole ought to have been given, or none ; 
since one part becomes a strong exemplification of the other, and I am con- 
strained to repeat, that I think that poor Servetus has been most unjustly 
mutilated by all those who have referred to his writings with the sole view 
of disparaging him, and sustaining the claims of Harvey. 

Stahl, George Ernest. — Born in 1660 ; among his numerous works are 
one or two, apparently connected with our subject, but which I have not 

"Positiones de mechanisimo motus progressivi sanguinis, quibus motus 
tonicus partium porosarum necessitas ad motum sanguinis, lymphae, seri 
dirigendum admittendum vel excludendum demonstratur." Halle, 1695. 

" Positiones de aestu maris microcosmici s.' fluxu et refluxu sanguinis 
praecipue in paroxysmo febrili tertianario in sensus incurrente." Halle 
Valla, George, among his writings has a work entitled : 
" Nemesii de natura hominis liber e Graco Latinus factus." Lyon, 1538. 
As Nemesius is one of those, to whom the discovery of the circulation 
has been ascribed, it may be proper to notice this edition of his treatise 

Wale, John de, or Walaeus. — Born 1604; his biographer says, that he 
was one of the first who taught the circulation of the blood; but that he 
wished to take the honour of the discovery from Harvey, and give it to the 
ancients. Quere, if this is the fact. 

" Epistolee duae de motu chyli et sanguinis ad Th. Bartholinum." 
Leyden, 1641. See these letters in Bartholine's Anatomy. 

Verheyen, P. — Professor of anatomy and surgery in the U. of Lovain, 
in his Supplementum Anatomicum, printed at Brussels, 1710, 4to; that is, 
about a century after Harvey's promulgation of his views and opinions, 
thus speaks of Harvey, in reference to the circulation, whilst treating on 
the subject of generation. 

"De ejusmodi ovorum productione singularem fovit opinionem G. Har- 
vaeus Medicus Regis Angliae, homo ob inventam, aut saltern (ut quidam 
volunt) divulgatam sanguinis circulationem, toti posteritati colendus." 
p. 308. 

At p. 281, the same anatomist gives us the following ideas on the sub- 

206 APPE\DIX. 

ject of nutrition, wherein he advantageously employs both anastomoses, 
and some sort of pores ; yet it is but supposition ! 

" Ut vero intelligatur qua ratione diverse sanguinis particulae cedant 
inter partes sibi conformes, supponendum est', praeter communem viam circu- 
lations, quosdam esse poros in arteriis (et vero similiter etiam in quibus- 
dam venis) maxime in illis, quas ob tenuitatem capillares vocant, tantum 
aliqui quib'us sanguinis, particulis transitum concedentes ; per quos dum 
reliquus sanguis ad alia vasa transmigrat, particulae magis conformes ob 
transitum faciliorem minusque impeditum divertantur, ac deinde ab aliis 
subsequentibus inter substantiam partis propellantur." The subject is no 
doubt, now, perfectly plain, and fully illustrated ! 

Widelius, Wedel — George Wolfgang — Born in 1645, died in 1721. 
Among his numerous writings, we find "Dissert, de circulatione sangui- 
nis." Jena, 1696. 


Since bringing to a conclusion the foregoing extracts, additional matter 
has presented for investigation, which I must not withhold from the reader: 
yet there must be some limitation, for I believe that scarcely can an author, 
anterior to the early part of the last century, be perused, without finding 
food for reflection on the subject of the circulation. 

We shall commence with some remarks and observations from the 
writings of Fallopius. My edition of his work in two vols, fol., was printed 
at Frankfort, in 1600, that is, twenty-eight, years before Harvey's. He 
was born, according to Vanderlinden, in 1490, and died in 1563, when 
seventy-three years of age, that is, prior to the birth of Harvey. In chap, 
xii. p. 128, with a consideration of the veins, (including the arteries,) 
wherein he points to the different views that had been advanced as to the 
origin of the proper veins — and agreeing with none of them, he adds, 
" Quare de principio venarum est instituenda quaestio, scil. de parte aliqua 
corporis, quae mereatur dici principium venarum." He considers the idea 
of the hepatic origin of the veins as altogether invalid, inasmuch as they, 
the veins, are formed before the liver. In this, then, he has preceded the 
observations of Harvey, who cannot claim this as one of his new and un- 
heard of things, although he no where mentions, I believe, that the position 
is maintained by any who preceded him. Fallopius' words are, p. 129, 
" Quare quo ad principium generationis dico, epar rion esse venarurn prin- 
cipium, quoniam venxfactae sunt antejecur, imo, ab omnibus concessum est 
nullum esse viscus quod sit ante venas, et possit esse generationis principium 
venarum." If, then, Galen was wrong in this particular, as to the origin 
of the veins, Harvey, at least, was not the first to notice it. 

That the heart was the first part to appear among the solids, seems to 
have been asserted by Aristotle, (cap. 3 and 4, lib. 3, de Animal., &c.) 
"Cor est principium caloris et sanguinis; vena? sunt instrumenta deferendi 
huia utriusque; ergo cor est principium venarum." — "Consentit igitur 
Galenus cum Aristotele, quod cor sit prima pars quae apparet inter car- 
nosas," p. 130 ; and we have already seen that Aristotle, by Harvey's own 


admission, preceded him in the notice of the primary formation, and intes- 
tine movement of the blood itself, if the fact is really as stated. 

In the 13th Chapter, Fallopius reviews the reasons, &c, of physicians in 
opposition to Aristotle on the origin of the veins from the heart, from 
which something may be gleaned, as to the points connected with a cir- 
culation ; thus, p. 132, "Si vena esset cordis instrumentum, frustra ageret 
natura: quoniam fecisset aliquot partes ad usum inutiles : sunt enim tres 
membranae quae trisulcae vocantur, quot sunt in quolibet animali, et sunt in 
dextro ventriculo cordis, et facta; sunt, ne sanguis egrediaturad venas; ergo 
sanguis, si transfunditur ad venas a corde, istae tres membranae erunt 
inutiles ; quia, si cor mittit sanguinem, ipsa; non claudunt cordis orificium." 
He adds, a little further on, some facts relating to fishes, from which he 
deduces, " Quod cor non potest esse principium venarum, nee sanguinis 
officinal' 1 which most physicians accredited, and which Harvey's superior 
lights did not overthrow, in his consideration of the subject ! 

How much better Fallopius conceived of the use of the right ventricle, 
than Harvey, may be estimated from the following quotation, p. 133: 
" Ad quartum, dico, quod si in corde per se adesset dexter ventriculus, et non 
per accidens, fortasse valeret argumentum : sed cum adsit per accidens, non 
valet argumentum : sed adest ventriculus dexter non ratione sui, sed ratione 
pulmonis : patet hoc, nam animalia carentia pulmonibus, carent dextro ven- 
triculo; at, habentia pulmones habent dextrum ventriculum etiam ;" com- 
pare Harvey's ideas, with the above. 

Although, perhaps, accompanied by a mistaken explanation, in the fol- 
lowing passage, we clearly trace a complete idea of the pulmonary circula- 
tion. Yet Harvey gives no notice of it to us ! Was Fallopius and his 
writings unknown to him? He, Fallopius, is speaking, p. 138, of the 
uses of the diastole of the heart: the second use enumerated, is thus stated 
(from Galen, lib. 3, de Facult. Natur. cap. 14), as depending on the then 
prevalent ideas of a horror Vacuae : 

"Ista autem dilatatio alium habet usum, ut scil. etiam sanguinem attra- 
hunt arteriae, nam cor dilatato ventriculo sinistro atlrahitex dextro ventriculo 
sanguinem lenuem,- idem fit in arteriis, quae attrahunt ratione vacui sanguinem 
spirituosum ab ipsis venis conjunctis." 

If Harvey had stated this, the medical reader would have been enraptured ; 
but it is disregarded because proclaimed by Galen so many centuries ago. 

In Chapter 16th, when treating on the subject of the pulse, to show that 
it is not inherent in the vessels, in a manner highly interesting, he refers, 
p. 143, to Galen's experiment of the tube inserted into an artery, (of which 
we have already remarked the uncandid account, &c, of Harvey,) which 
continued to pulsate below, if the artery was not tied upon it — but ceased 
its pulsation, when compression was made by ligature on the vessel. It 
seems a favourite record in the writings of those who preceded Harvey — 
and may deserve a strict repetition in the present day, to determine its real 
value in settling the opinions on this point. I cannot omit to mention , that 


Fallopius has advanced an argument hereon, that I do not recollect else- 
where to have seen, hut which is certainly deserving of consideration. It 
is in p. 145, in the following words. "Tertio, si facultas haec in arteriis 
esset insita et ingenita, et non aliud emanans, sequeretur, quod in arteriis 
inflammatis deberet variare pulsus in frequentia etiam, non solum in magni- 
tudine, quia hujusmodi facultas, si est insita, insita est in forma arteriae, 
quae est ipsa temperatura: at in inflammationibus temperatura patitur, ergo 
et facultas, unde minor fiet pulsus et rarior, sed hoc not fit in inflammatione; 
ergo arteria hahet facultatem hanc a corde." It seems to me, that 
scarcely an idea has been advanced by Harvey, that cannot be traced in 
the writings of his predecessors ! 

I must not deprive the reader of the pleasure he may derive, from seeing 
the opinions of Mayow, a man, to whom Beddoes and others have awarded 
the claim of the discovery of Pneumatic Chemistry ; a discovery as great 
in the physical world, as that of the circulation in the animal. Mayow 
published his "Tractatus quinque Medico-physici," in 1669, or about forty 
years after Harvey's work, and twelve after his death. In the Oxford 
edition of 1674, he speaks in warm terms of Harvey, in his treatises, De 
Respiratione ; so that his testimony is of value in every respect. I shall 
merely extract, however, one passage from p. 19, of his fourth treatise, " De 
Motu musculari," as being immediately connected with our subject; in 
which the inquiry is " Quomodo sanguis per musculos transit." "Quo 
autem carnis musculosae structura, et usus magis innotescant, inquiramus 
breviter, quo ritu sanguis iter suum per carnem capcssit. Neque enim iis assen- 
tiendum esse arbitror, qui sanguinis extravasation em (Mayow calls things by 
their right name!) statuunt; cujus sentential prsecipua ratio est, quia nulla 
esset, uti aiunt, partium nutritio, si sanguis intra vasa sua jugiter continere- 
tur ; neque enim fluvius pratis adjacentibus quicquam fertilitatis impertit, 
nisi superatis rivis aquae foecundantes iis superfundantur. At vero sanguinis 
extravasatio res adeo confusa esse videtur, ut eandem in accuratissima. anima- 
lium structura, ubi singula arte ordineque nunquam satis admirasdis com- 
ponuntur, locum habere vix putandumsit. Prxterea concipere plane nequeo, 
qui fieri possit, ut sanguis exlravasatus minutissima vcnarum oscula subnet: 
Etenim si sanguis per musculi molem difflueret; videtur quod arteriarum, 
venarumque ultima; propagines a sanguine easdem ambiente comprimeren- 
tur, ita ut sanguis venarum oscula per compressionem illam occlusa, 
introire non posset. Ad haec, sanguinem in musculis extravasatum non esse 
inde liquet, quod sanguis ad musculum appellens, si musculo infligatur, 
totus non erumpit; quod tamen contingeret, si sanguis extravasatus per 
musculi molem difflueret." 

"Circa sanguinis ergo transitum per musculos arbitrari fas sit, venas, 
arteriasque capillares per vasa qusedam diversi generis conjungi, ita ut con- 
tinuus sit inter easdem aliqualis ductus. Nempe existimo arteriarum 
extremitates in vasa peculiaria desinere, quae mox ab ortu suo in canales, 
seu potius vesiculas membranaceas pene infinitas, hie illic anastomosibus 



varlis eonjunctas propagantur ,■ vesicularum autem earum propagines varias, 
tandem in canalem unum coeuntes, in venarum oscula inhiantia terminan. 
Plane ut sanguinis massa dum per ambages illas tortuosas hue illuc varie 
pervagatur, extravasationem menliatur," &c. 

From all that is here collected, it is obvious that the circulation was not 
completed, or understood by Harvey or his successors ; how then can he with 
any show of reason, be hailed unanimously as its discoverer'? Even at the 
present day, the same uncertainty exists as to the real nature of the case, 
as is evident in the speculations of Bichat and his followers, who candidly 
and repeatedly confess, that this intervening communication of arteries and 
veins is uncertain and obscure. It is not any part of my object, to enter 
into a consideration of the subject; being only desirous of showing that 
Harvey has not accomplished it ; and that, excepting a few confirmatory 
experiments, he is really in no wise its discoverer. If riveting together a 
series of links more or less disunited, but which had long been known 
before Harvey was born, can entitle him to the proud and enviable distinc- 
tion ; even although it must be admitted that several of those links are yet 
incomplete; surely science is a bubble, and undeserving of serious attention. 
Time is too short to admit of our being tickled by hypothetic assertions, 
which, if plausible or probable, yet want the stamp of perfection, in spite 
of the learned lucubrations of every physiologist, from the time of Harvey 
to the present day. 

A few lines from the writings of J. Langius, "Epistolarum medicinalium 
Libri," 12mo. Hanoviae, 1605; will show the state of things about the 
period of Harvey's investigations. We extract them from p. 33 ; the eighth 
chapter is thus headed : " Chirurgi quare phlebotomatos sanguinem sorbere 
cogunt." He thus, after some remarks, apostrophizes the ignorance of sur- 
geons. " O audax Chirurgicorum ignorantia, qui nesciunt, aerem, vitalis et 
animalis spiritus fomentum, non modo per arterias cerebri, pulmonis et 
cordis cavernas, sed per occultam quoque inspirationem et poros, universos 
corporis artus perreptare, qui ob arteriarum cum venis coadstomosim, san- 
guini quoque permisceretur," etc. By which we may judge, perhaps, 
that the doctrine of pores was by no means uncommon before Harvey ; and 
which we have in various places demonstrated. 

In 1697, the Opera Medica of Ettmuller, in 3 vols. fol. were published 
at Frankfort; from which much might be extracted, but I limit myself to a 
few short quotations, to prove, that even after the days of personal contro- 
versy had passed away, and men were fully persuaded of a circulation ; all 
were not even then disposed to acquiesce in the unqualified award that had 
been made in Harvey's behalf. We may suppose that Ettmuller, living 
so long after Harvey, could have no reason for denying or objecting to his 
claim, save that arising from a conviction of its being unfounded beyond 
certain limits. 

Vol. I. p. 9. " Harvxus et Conringius vulgo habentur primi Jnventores 
circulationis sanguinis: sed revera non sunt, et notitiam hujus demum acci- 


perunt a Paulo Sarpa, Veneto monacho ordinis senitae, qui revera primus et 
verus inventor est hujus circulationis." 

Id. p. 106. cap. x. " De sanguinis ex corde ad quasvis partes corporis distri- 
butione, distributique usu." In this extract we shall discover the little 
advantage that had been derived to physiology, &c, by the asserted disco- 
very of the Circulation ; as well as that " shadows, clouds, and darkness," 
still shrouded and obscured it, even three-fourths of a century after Harvey 
had declared it perfect ! 

"Sanguis et chylus in pulmonibus fermentatus et rarefactus, cor in 
specie sic dictum, hoc est, sinistrum ejus ventriculum, distendit, qui se 
contrahit Kquorem contentum impetuose extra se propellit, qui ex corde in 
arteriam magnam irrumpit, et per hujus ramos adscendentes et descendentes, 
tanquam canales, in totum corpus, vel nutriendum vel viviflcandum, distri- 
buitur usque in minutas arteriolas, seu capillaria vasa, per partium solidarum 
substantiam dispersa idque sola quidem cordis vibratione ; ita ut omnis, 
quem medicus in carpo pulsum deprehendit, a sanguine per cordis systolen 
hue derivato, ac arteriae latera feriente et distendente, fiat, ex arteriolis iis- 
dem sanguis, qui vel a nutritione vel ab aliorum humorum praeparatione et 
depuratione restitat, intrat capillaria venarum, partim, immediate per minutas 
anastomoses seu inosculationes, partim mediate per substantiam seu porulos 
partium, per quae ad majores truncos, hincque per venam cavam, in cor 
refunditur ; qui motus, cum fiat in circulum, autoribus Harvaeo Anglo, et Con- 
ringio Germano inventus, dicitur Circularis, cujus centrum est Cor, peri- 
pheriam vero constituunt extimae corporis partes, lineas ex centro ad 
peripheriam constituunt arteriae et venae," etc. Proceeding further in his 
explanatory remarks, he comes to sundry references, as follows, on the 
subject of the Circulation. 

" Confer, de hoc circulari motu Walaeus in Epist. ad Bartholin, de chyli 
et sanguinis motu, qui cum aliis Aristoteli et pluribus antiquioribus cognitum 
fuisse, p. 773, scribit; item Charleton in (Economia animal, exercit. 6. item 
Harvxus qui tanquam alter Columbus sectionibus et experimentis micro- 
cosmum pererrans, hujus circulationem nostro seculo primitus propalavit, 
Exercit. de motu sanguinis; item Conring. de generat. et motu sanguinis, 
qui etiam per exactum scrutinum invenit motum circularem : revera tamen 
primus hujus inventi Autor fuit Paulus Servita, Religiosus Venetus, vid. 
Bartholinus in Epistol. cent. 1. Epist. 26. Highmor. Disquisit. Anatom. 
de arteriis cerebri: quidam etiam attribuunt Columbo Csesa/pino, utpote 
qui circulum sanguinis ex dextro cordis ventriculo per pulmones in sinistrum 
describit 1. 5. Quaest. peripat. 5. p. 126. — Alii, quos inter etiam Walaeus 
1. a. Hippocrati sanguinis circulationem jam dum notam voluerunt 1. de 
Venis — de Natura humana, et de Alimento," etc. 

The parts on which Walaeus appears to rest his belief in behalf of Hip- 
pocrates, are as follows : 

" Crassae Venae sibi mutuo alimentum subministrant, internee externis, 
vicissimque externae internis." 


"Omnium quae nutriunt, unum est principium, unusque omnium finis, 
idemque finis et principium." 

"Alimentum in pilos, in ungues, et in extimam superficiem ab internis 
partibus pervenit : ab externis partibus alimentum, ab externa superficie ad 
intima pervenit: Confluxio una, conspiratio una, consentientia omnia." 

"Veteres unanimi consensu, adds Ettmuller, omnes partes sanguine 
nutriri et augeri asseruerunt, &c." 

On all this we can but remark, every circumstance proves that a credence 
in a circulation was general amongst the ancients ; they perceived its 
necessity to life, in perhaps every particular that could now be urged, either 
of respiration, animal heat, or nutrition, in terms as strong, although differ- 
ing from ours, as founded on philosophical principles no longer tolerated. 
That the circulation in the exact route, as now delivered by anatomists, 
differs in some particulars from that advocated by the ancients, cannot be 
denied; but is it just therefore to abstract even what cannot be disavowed 
that they knew 1 Had Hippocrates ever written expressly on the circulation, 
he would have explicitly described it ; but in merely mentioning it in the 
cursory manner that is found in his writings, it is doing him an injustice to 
deny him any claim to its acquaintance, when we perceive in the few ex- 
tracts above, such language as no man of sense would employ, who had 
no definite meaning to attach to them. The whole business is confined to 
a short argument; all writers nearly agree, that the ancients had a know- 
ledge of, or belief in, some kind of circulation or progressive motion of the 
blood from the heart, throughout the body;* on such belief, they practised 
blood-letting, and other evacuating modes of treatment, on principles that 
can be explained in no way but by their credence in a circulation ; a know- 
ledge of which is yet denied them. But what say the different writers 
opposed to their claims, in attributing a discovery of the circulation to 
Harvey? why, they almost all differ. One tells us that he discovered the 
valves ; he himself, ascribes this to others. He claims, himself, the expla- 
nation of their use ; I have proved that Piccolhomini preceded him in this 
respect. Take any point, that is either tangible or intangible, and we find 
Harvey anticipated by some one, either of ancient or more modern times. 
Whilst the only real point of controversy might be regarded as that of 
the mode of intercommunication of arteries and veins, which he attributes 
to himself; we find that he is not only as defective, in this respect, as those 
who preceded him ; but that he was altogether undecided at times, what 
plan he should adhere to, and that he died without cominnr to any thing like 
proof respecting his vacillating opinions. Let any one recur to the extracts 
given from the College, and also from Pitcairn, and we shall find that he had 
not enlightened the obscurity of the subject ! Under all these impressions, 
spread throughout so many volumes, and continued during more than two 
centuries, it is probable, that some of my readers may feel a little asto- 
nished, that so much has been granted to Harvey, on a ground-work so im- 


perfect ; so little admitted for his predecessors, with a superstructure so 

We have in the 3d Vol. of Ettmuller, p. 1617, a tract entitled "De 
Chirurgia infusoria." Wherein, long after Harvey's works were printed, and 
no opposition made to the general doctrines of the circulation ; we have the 
following remarks as to the origin of the doctrine, which will, of course, be 
tested by the other authorities here assembled for the purpose. 

" Notum est, inter nova hujus seculi inventa fere primaria recensendam 
esse circulationem sanguinis, cui occssionem dedit inventio valvularum seu 
ostiolorum in venis, praesertim artuum majoribus. Primus valvularum 
illarum inventor fuit ineunte anno 1579 G. Fabricius ab Aquapendente, 
Professor Patavinus, post quem brevi primus Salomo Albertus Wittebero-ae 
per BLVTo-^iav confirmavit. Horum consideratione factum dein est, ut post- 
modum ratiocinando de sanguinis motu mirabili Paulus Sarpa, frater seu 
monachus Veneta, Aquapendentis familiarissimus, conjecturare primus in- 
cipit. E contra G. Harveius, Anglus, primitus sibi inventionem sanguinis 
circulationis tribuit, asserens, P. Sarpam omnia ab ipso hausisse, (where 
has Harvey done this 1 ?) et omnino fatendum, Harvaeum primum fuisse, qui 
experimentandonegotium hoc manifestavit; Sarpam vero, quod ratiocinando 
ejusdem vestigia nobis exhibuit ; quos insecutus Walaeus." 

$7" Such then is the uncertainty of the business; such the unsettled 
nature of every part of Harvey's claim ; such the quicksand foundation on 
which the award has been granted to him ! Can it well be doubted, that 
even admitting his claim to be fully established, yet, that in a variety of 
its parts confirmation is defective; and that, in fine, if we are as yet, igno- 
rant of the real character of the connection between the arteries and veins, 
whatever may be the probability cf our circumstantial evidence, it is but 
circumstantial, and the circulation remains yet to be established ! Harvey 
therefore, two hundred years ago, could not have discovered it, or the sha- 
dows, clouds and darkness that still invest it, could not have existence. 

But I must quit Ettmuller, and introduce to my readers, the " Opera 
Omnia" of Christ. J. Langius, fol. Leips. 1704. Here, in thesis 17, headed 
Circulatio Sanguinis, p. 110, he thus adverts to its discovery, 

" Motum hunc sanguinis descriptum Gulielmo debemus Harva?o, Doctori, 
Professori et medico regio anglico, qui aeterna nominis sui fama in Exercit. 
Anatom. de motu cordis et sanguinis primus omnium antiquorum dogmata 
de hac materia tradita, non solum falsissima demonstravit, sed quoque, quo 
modo sanguis vere in gyrum perpetuo a corde agatur, docuit." His full 
acknowledgment of Harvey's claim as " Inventor," cannot then be doubted, 
and, consequently, what he says further must be regarded as the established 
principles of the Harveian school. At p. Ill, after stating the general 
outline of the route of circulation of the blood, impelled chiefly by the 
force of the heart, he thus proceeds, "Transcurrit proinde sanguis hie ex 
majoribus truncis arteriosis ad minores, tandemquc vascula capillaria, quorum 
finis in partium poris est. Sed brevis hie est ejus mora, quoniam ex his a 


venis minutissimis prompt e rursum absorbetur, et ad vasa majora ipsosque 
truncos amplissimos venae cava; revehitur, e quibus denuo eadem, uti modo 
dictum, ratione auriculis infunditur. Accidit autem hie sanguinis refluxus 
a superioribus partibus ex gravitate naturali, cujus ratione unumquodque 
fluidum deorsura movetur. Sed ex inferioribus, e quibus perpendiculariter 
ascendere cogitur, partim a sanguinis arteriosi ajjluxu ac pressione (how this 
was to happen, with blood thus previously thrown out of the arteries into 
the porosities of the parts, Langius affords no information,) continua, par- 
tim vero a venarum textura renitente deducendus est, quibus simul succur- 
runt valvulae, cavitates venarum occupantes, quas obicem ponunt regressum 
molienti huic fluido." 

It would seem that Langius then fully upholds the doctrine of pores, as 
held forth by Harvey, and opposes anastomoses ; and this we shall see 
still further upheld in p. 114 and 116. In the former page he thus states 
the objections that had been made to this doctrine of pores : " Negatur, says 
he, ex arteriis per poros partium ad venas abire sanguinem. 

1. Quoniam Anastomoses dantur. 

2. Quoniam per fibrarum carnearum tubulos ex arteriis movetur ad vena- 
rum ostiola, quam hypothesin defendens Steph. Blancardus, Tr. de cir- 
culat. sanguinis per tubulos, probat, a. ex haemorrhagiae defectu, si secundum 
longitudinem secetur musculus — b. ex autopsia per atramentum in arterias 
injectum, cujus ope non solum connexionem tubulorum horum cum venis, 
verum quoque valvularum praesentiam in illis posse cognosci docet." 

To these, he replies at p. 116. 

"1. Anastomoses illas Antiquorum h. e. inosculationes arteriarum et 
venarum hue usque nemo analomicorum vidit aut demonstrare potuit, ad 
non-entia ergo confugiunt adversarii. 

" 2. Admitto hanc doctrinam, quamdiu sanguis circulatur in musculis, 
(It is not, a non-entity in the muscles, then, even if equally invisible or un- 
demonstrable !) ast quoniam etiam transcurrit viscera, glandulas, aliasque 
partes, in quibus ejusmodi fibrae carneae non occurrunt, malui cum aliis 
generali pororum partium termino designare locum ilium extravasationis san- 
guinis arteriosi quam ante occupat, quam a venarum ostiolis excipitur." 

And again, referring to some objection relative to the venous valves, 
he says (same page) in order to do it away, " a valvulis, quas intra venas 
reperire licet, illud adjutorium, quos sibi pollicetur, (J. A. Borelli de motu 
animal.) ad hanc rem expectari non posse, cum tantum in ramis, non seque 
in truncis amplioribus illae appareant." 

At this part, or Thesis on the circulation, we have some further interesting 
appurtenances, which I cannot forbear communicating, inasmuch as they 
have a strong association and connexion with Harvey's works; and elicit 
somewhat of that, which he (H.) has left uncommunicated to the reader. 
I have already adverted to Harvey's denunciation, in no very measured 
terms, of the Momes and Detractors of his doctrines, whose works, however, 
he never read! Credat .Tudaeus ! It no doubt would have been satisfactory 
to others, not personally engaged in this anatomical and physiological con- 


flict, to have known who they were, that so unhandsomely opposed the 
novelties (new and unheard of) of Harvey; and what they could possibly 
urge against the doctrine ; but all this, so far as Harvey is concerned, is left 
to mere conjecture ; and, but for others, these momes and detractors would 
have remained in oblivion, which, no doubt, was Harvey's earnest desire. 
His good friend Langius, however, gives us some little insight, when 
speaking of the objections that had been made to the doctrine of the circu- 
lation, p. iii. obj. 1. 

"Negatur," says he, " motus sanguinis circularis in totum.'" 

" 1. A cunctis Harvaeo antiquioribus medicis, utpote qui unanimiter sta- 
tuunt, ex hepate per venam cavam ad partes vehi sanguinem nutritionis 
gratia, et per arlerias spiritus vitales ad conservationem vitae. 

"2. Post manifestatam jam circulationem negarunt ex professo quatuor 
viri sequentes. (-XT' The momes and detractors !) 

" a. Jacobus Primerosius in animadversionibus ad librum de motu cordis 
et circul. sang, adversus Harvaeum. Item in animadvers. in Joh. Walaei 
disputationem, quam pro circulatione sanguinis Harvejana proposuit. Item 
in Animad. in Theses Heinrici Regii pro circul. sanguinis. Item in vindi- 
ciis animadversionum contra Regium. 

"£. jEmilius Parisanus, Nobilium Exercitat. de subtilitate, part, altera, 
cap. de Cordis et Sanguinis motu adversus Harvaeum. 

" c. Eckardus Leichnerus, Exercit. anti-Harvaeana de motu san- 

" d. Homobonus Piso, Tr. Ultio Antiquitatis in sanguinis circulatione." 

I cannot omit here to mention the manner in which the objections to the 
doctrine of the circulation by Harvey, as above referred to, by Primrose and 
others, are met by Langius in his response to them, obj. i. 113. 

Resp. 1. « Damus lubentissime veniam priscis medicis, quibus ex seculi 
infelicitate hie tantum motus sanguinis cognitus fuit. 

2. " Quandoquidem quae Primerosius adversus hunc circularem protulit 
motum, ex professo examinis incudi subjecit jam olim Heinr. Regius Tr. 
cui Titulus : fty" Spongia pro eluendis sordibus animadversionum Jacob. 
Primeros. in theses ipsius pro Circul. Sanguin. et Georgius Entius in 
Apologia pro Circulatione, qua respondetur jEmilio Parisano cimctaque 
Doctoris hujus argumenta nullius momenti esse, dudum ostendit ,• Leichneri 
vero et Pisonis rationes, cum, vel omnino repugnent autopsiae, vel mere sint 
sophisticae, minime videntur prolixam confutationem postulare." Such are 
the arguments by which an opposition to the new doctrines of a circulation 
were met and sustained. If the objections by Primrose and others were 
deemed untenable; surely they required a different treatment to overturn 
them ! 

Amongst the objections made, we find one thus headed, p. 112, 7th. 
" Negatur a sanguinis impulsu arteriarum motum dependere :" and I refer 
to it merely from its involving the experiment of Galen, before adverted to, 
of introducing a tube into an artery. " Si arterias per medium dissectae fis- 


tulam immittas, et in utroque latere laqueo circumjecto connectas, ultra 
laqueum non amplius palpitare videbis arteriam, utut sanguis injiciatur." 
In p. 115, we have the following response, — " Fundamentum dubii hujus 
est allegatum Galeni experimentum, ad quod solvendum non opus habemus 
cum Harvseo Tr. de motu cordis dubitare, num Mud in corpore vivo possit ador- 
nari ; potius negamus illud, utpote fahissimum, cum contrarium omnino in 
quovis arteriae trunco sub ligatura et tubulo h. e. motus satis conspicuus 
appareat vid. Raymundi Vieussens Neurograph. Univers. c. 4. p. m. 23. 

If Langius means hereby to deny the experiment of Galen ; he merely 
does what Harvey did before him ; but he appears to have not known, or 
to have forgotten, that Harvey, after an equally positive denial ; in his 
Exercit. ad Riolan, actually affirms that he himself did perform it! As to 
the deductions therefrom, I have nothing to remark, as my object is only to 
show, that some inconsistency is at least apparent, in the subject ! 

If we take up Junckcr's Institutiones Physiologise et Pathologiae Medicae, 
12mo. Halae, 1745, we shall learn something of the sentiments at a later 
date. At p. 97, we find the following question and reply. "209. Anvero 
sanguis ex artcriis immediate transit in venas ? 

" Sunt qui a particularibus venarum et arteriarum anastomosibus, in pul- 
monibus, plexu choroideo, vasis emulgentibus, utero gravido, membro geni- 
tali et alibi forte obviis, argumentantur ad anastomoses universales ,■ sed pro- 
babilior (no certainty yet, we perceive, that is, nearly 120 years after Har- 
vey's book appeared,) esse videtur illorum sententia, qui sanguinem in ipsam 
partium porositatem infundi, et ope motus tonici in venas transprimi conten- 
dunt; (!) ita enim non solum corporis nutritio, sed et partium amputationi- 
bus discissarum, aut suppuratione absumtarum coalescentia eo melius ex- 
plicari poterit." 

Here we may remark, that Juncker makes the circulation of a triple cha- 
racter, in reply to the question, p. 97. " Numne sanguinis circulus per 
omnia est equalis 1 ?" By no means, he replies, " Nam longissimum circu- 
lum describit sanguis, qui artuum extremitates perfluit; breviorem, qui per 
pulmones pellitur; brevissimum vero, qui cordis substantiam ej usque tran- 
sit auriculas." It will be remembered that Harvey, nor Juncker, nor any 
other physiologist, have noticed, that there are as many minor or particular 
circulations, as there are organs, to which the blood is merely conveyed by 
its general and incessant flow. The lungs and heart are precisely on a foot- 
ing with every other organ in this respect ; their functions are distinct; like 
those of all the rest, each is peculiar in its character, and cannot fully be 
supplied vicariously. The heart impels the whole circulating mass, like a 
powerful forcing pump ; the other organs are required to separate what is 
no longer wanted, or effete; hence the various emunctories of urine, sweat, 
&c. : while some prepare it partially for its renewed arterialization in the 
lungs, by removing from the venous 7/iass itself, a large proportion of mate- 
rials, (as bile) that would probably frustrate or impede the pulmonary func- 


tions ; and so far as this is the case, with the ancients, we may well believe 
the liver to be an important organ in the process of sanguification. No organ 
alone can be so characterized, for all, by the removals made by them from 
the general mass, co-operate in this perpetual renovation of the vital stream ! 
Each organ, therefore, has its respective circle of distribution from the pa- 
rent stream; like the minor satellites and planets of the greater system of 
nature, they all contribute to the general harmony of the microcosm of man. 
And, although of high import, as the source of every stream, thus irrigating 
as it were, the peculiar organs, on whose perfect functions health and life 
depend; yet, the general circulation may almost be considered, when com- 
pared with that of each individual part or organ, as sinking into insignifi- 
cance ! nor will its sole consideration elucidate a single point of physiology ! 
In a limited degree, Juncker, indeed, seems to have adopted this view of 
the subject. " Unde patet, quod quaedam sanguinis pars pauciora, alia vero 
longe plura vasa una quidem vice percurrat. Prius in partibus cordi vicinis 
fieri apertum est, posterius autem contingit, dum sanguis per tot aortae duc- 
tus in cerebrum penetrat, et durae meningis sinus ramulosque perreptat, 
itemque per venae porta; ramificationes, ventriculum, pancreas, aliaque vis- 
cera propellitur," &c. The uses of the circulation, he imperfectly notices 
in reply to the next question of " Quaenam vero usum praebet sanguinis cir- 
culatio ?" They are, to preserve the fluidity and heat of the blood; to ab- 
sterge the solids of effete sordes, and to soften the fibres ; to cherish every 
part by its heat ; to remove useless matters at all times by the various 
emunctories of secretion and excretion; to deposite in due amount the re- 
quisite nourishment to parts; and restore it when lost by disease. It is 
conspicuous, however, that the office of the general circulation is here pro- 
miscuously intermingled with that of each part of its particular destination : 
and which requires sedulously to be kept in view, if we would desire to 
comprehend (though imperfectly), the importance of the blood in the animal 
economy. In this respect, Harvey is greatly deficient, at least in his trea- 
tise on the circulation itself; for he does more justice to it, in that on gene- 
ration. Perhaps I cannot do better than give the next question and reply 
of Juncker, after more than a century from Harvey — his advocate in the 
fullest extent, since he thus terminates a reply to a question, of whether the 
circulation was known to others before him. " Hinc gloria inventionis 
merito relinquenda erit Guil. Harvejo, Anglo, Jacobi ac Caroli I., Angliae 
regum, archiatro quondam atque Collegii medici Londinensis anatomes pro- 
fessore ac praesidi, qui anno 1628, in Exercitationibus anatomicis, de rnotu 
cordis et sanguinis, suam hac de re sententiam cum orbe erudito communi- 

None will, I trust, hesitate in giving its due weight to the reply I allude 
to, to the following question, as containing the extreme extent of Harvey's 
claim: if more can be found, I have not yet, with every care and desire to 
do him justice, been able to attain it. 

" Unde autem probas, dari sanguinis circulationem ? p. 99. 



« Ex variis quidetn Harveji aliorumque recentiorum medicorum observa- 
tionibus et experimentis ; prfesertim vero ex phaenomeno illo satis manifesto, 
dum in corporibus vivis, vegeto sanguinis motu, et cordis pulsu instructis, 
ligata arteria inter cor et sui ligaturam iniumcscere cernitur, detumescere autem 
inter illam ligaturam et extremitatcs ramificationum suarum, et per conse- 
quens ipsarum partium ; unde in aprico est, sanguinis massam per arterias 
omnino moveri a corde extrorsum, versus partes periphericas. Ex adverso, 
venis ita ligalis, comparuit, quod eaedem inter cor et ligattiram detumescant, 
inter ligaturam autem et extremitatcs turgefiant, luculento iterum indicio, 
quod sanguis per venas a partibus versus cor refluat." 

But we have said enough from Juncker; and if we proceed from him, 
down to the present time, we shall find, that we are no more enlightened 
now, than by Harve)' or Galen, how the blood actually passes from the arteries 
to the veins, whether by pores or anastomoses, or both, or by what other 
means : — so as, in fact, to compel us to declare, that a circulation, absolutely 
true and certain, is not more completely and fully demonstrated in all and 
every particular, than by Galen and others, anterior to Harvey ; and we 
demand not mere assertion or speculative notions, but absolute proof and 
unequivocal demonstration of the nature of this important link of the circu- 
lation; without which, it is utterly inconsistent with truth to say, that its 
discovery is complete ; and still more so, to invest Harvey with honours, 
to which, I think, wc have proved him so little entitled. 

{&" It may not be amiss to advert to a quotation from Fallopius, at p. 
208, beginning thus — " Ista autem dilatatio," &c. — as, in referring to it, it 
is stated that Fallopius has quoted Galen for what is there given. It would 
appear, therefore, that the whole paragraph was Galen's ; whereas it was 
intended merely to refer to the attractive power with which he invests the 
arteries. The idea of a vacuum belongs to Fallopius. Galen's 14th chapter, 
adverted to, is headed, " De Vi attractrice Cordis et Arteriarum." His 
views are, however, connected in his explanation with the difference in the 
specific gravity, (levity, &c.) of different bodies. 





Nearly forty years have elapsed since, under the guidance of my much 
respected friend and preceptor, the late Professor Rush, I imbibed the high- 
est veneration for the character and writings of the illustrious Hippocrates; 
the earliest of those medical authorities, whose works have reached us. 
Participating in the enthusiasm which he bore for that venerable man; 
you may judge how much I have felt, in preparing a lecture for your con- 
sideration; which is intended as a vindication of that great father of medi- 
cine, from aspersions thrown upon his fame, by Dr. Rush himself; — and 
that, at the very moment when, it is evident, he was striving to do honour 
to his memory ! 

Although it may unquestionably be deemed hazardous to attempt the 
refutation of an individual, who so long, and so deservedly, was esteemed 
the pride and ornament of this University; yet, a sense of duty to him, to 
Hippocrates, whom he so fondly cherished, to you, and to myself; com- 
pels me, in the confidence of truth, to strive to counteract impressions 
given to the world, which I deem to be unfounded ; and therefore derogatory 
to the standing which Hippocrates has always maintained, wherever 
medical literature has found a footing. 

Had Dr. Rush confined his assertions to his Class alone, I should pro- 
bably not have ventured on opposing his opinions; but, in giving them 
publicity, through the medium of the press ; they seem to call for some 
remarks in this place ,• from whence, more than twenty years ago they were 
promulgated : nor can I doubt, that were he still alive, he would with kind- 
ness regard my feeble attempt to rescue the character of one, whom he 
delighted to honour, from the undeserved, and undesigned aspersions, tc 
which his pen has given origin. 


Although, for myself, I consider Galen as infinitely superior to his great 
predecessor; whose writings have been so ably commented on by him ; 
yet, I am not the less desirous of doing justice to the medical character of 
a man, who has commanded the suffrages of every age! In reference there- 
fore to the point in question, all who have read the interesting series of 
introductory lectures published by Dr. Rush in 1811, must well re- 
member, that one of them is " On the opinions and mode of practice of 
Hippocrates.'" The panegyric of the Professor, on the illustrious subject 
of that Discourse, must meet the decided approbation of every one, who is 
at all conversant with his writings ! And, perhaps, no stronger evidence is 
requisite, in order to establish the high opinion entertained of Hippocrates, 
by Dr. Rush himself; than the declaration made by him in the lecture 
alluded to ; that he had translated the Aphorisms of Hippocrates into En- 
glish, before he was twenty years of age ! 

Now, it is this very high respect, so deservedly entertained, and so 
publicly avowed to his class, in 1806 ; that, renders every error or misrepre- 
sentation of importance, that has proceeded from his pen. The opinions of 
those, who may deem the writings of Hippocrates to be useless, or even 
unworthy of perusal, whilst yet they join in senseless acclamations to his 
worth, and in tributes of respect to his memory; these, I repeat, may justly 
be regarded as of little consequence: not so, as it respects the judgment 
awarded by men like Rush ; learned alike, in present and in ancient science ; 
their opinions require to be most sedulously weighed ; and any misconcep- 
tions of an author should be severely scrutinized, by an impartial appeal to 
the only certain mode of deciding on his merits ; viz. by a reference to the 
writings of Hippocrates himself, or of such, as have reached us, under the 
imposing sanction of his name ! If, by such a measure, we shall have rea- 
sonable grounds to believe, that from inadvertence, our great and respected 
preceptor has asserted what is unfounded, or even doubtful ; how impor- 
tant must it be, to guard against the chances of injustice to the ancients, 
by those, who quote them only from second-hand authorities, and deem a re- 
ference to the original as of no account! If every medical question con- 
nected with the Ancients was thus to be tested by the touchstone of inves- 
tigation ; more justice would be awarded to them, than is usual in the 
present day ; and a salutary scepticism towards contemporary writers, might 
probably be less requisite, than, in my opinion, is now absolutely proper! 
Although, indeed, few will take the trouble to pore over the pages of the 
ancient authors; I am not the less persuaded, that much is lost, both of 
pleasure and instruction, in so completely relinquishing such original merit, 
for the meretricious trappings that have been, too obviously, on many occa- 
sions, derived from their extensive but neglected wardrobe. 

The following quotation will, at once, unfold the assertions from Dr. 
Rush's lecture, which I desire to controvert; and I can only regret, that 
they are not of so tangible a form, as to have at once enabled me to place 
my finger on the spot: — in other words, that Dr. Rush has altogether 


omitted, either by text or note, to specify the particular parts of the writings 
of Hippocrates, from which his unqualified assertions are deduced ! 

" I shall begin this part of our lecture, (says the Doctor) by taking notice 
of his ignorance in anatomy. He confounds the offices of the arteries and 
veins ,- and afterwards, the offices of both, with the nerves and ureters. He 
ascribes the same uses to nerves, tendons, and ligaments. He mentions but one 
muscle, and that is the Psoas, in the human body. He discovers no knowledge 
of the circulation of the blood ; his account of the heart, the brain, the senses, 
the intestines and organs of generation, is so replete with absurdities, that it 
vjould be disgusting to mention them.'''' 

Dealing thus, altogether in generals; you will readily perceive that it 
becomes a task of infinite difficulty to disprove assertions, that have no 
reference to any particular part of the writings of Hippocrates, but which 
yet comprehend them all, in one fell swoop! What edition of his works, 
Dr. Rush may have consulted, I know not! I think however it could 
neither have been those of Foesius nor Duretus ; both, amongst his most 
accurate translators and commentators! And, it is from them chiefly I 
shall attempt to disprove, though in the same general manner, those asser- 
tions ; thereby vindicating, I trust, Hippocrates from the charge of undue 
ignorance : and ourselves, from an undue appreciation of his merits, (which 
is justly chargeable upon us,) if Dr. Rush's assertions could be fully sub- 

To pursue Dr. Rush's order, we are to notice, 

1. The charge of his ignorance in Anatomy! 

Although, it is true, that Hippocrates has not written any express- work 
on anatomy, by which we might form an estimate of his extent of know- 
ledge in this especial branch ; yet he has not left us ignorant of much im- 
portant matter, spread throughout his numerous treatises; more especially 
in those on the heart ; on the glands ,• on the nature of man, and his parts,- 
on bandages; fractures and luxations, and a few more. How inadequate 
a test this may be of his proficiency may, perhaps, be appreciated ; by con- 
sidering how far, even Dr. Rush's attainments in that branch, could 
be fairly estimated, by what is incidentally spread throughout his own 
multifarious medical treatises! The writings of Hippocrates can, however, 
I think, scarcely be consulted, without a tacit acquiescence in the opinion, 
that whoever wrote them, must have had a competent acquaintance with 
practical anatomy ! 

Had Dr. Rush pointed out any particular deficiency, and noted the part 
of Hippocrates, where it was to be found ; it is not unlikely that all would 
perceive a sufficient reason for acquiescence in his opinion ! But, may not 
the same argument, or plan of proceeding, be equally valid against every 
writer, and even against Dr. Rush himself! In short, are we justified in 
questioning the general acquaintance of an author, with the science on which 
he treats ; from finding some partial, perhaps unimportant, instances to the 
contrary ! Fair and equitable criticism, would undoubtedly forbid it : and 
surely, what a sense of justice would condemn as improper, in relation to 


our contemporaries ; ought at least to prevent its unduly being urged 
against a writer of more than two thousand years celebrity ! 

It has been contended with great pertinacity, that Hippocrates and his 
contemporaries, and so down to Galen ; and even those, we may say, for 
centuries posterior to him, possessed but little acquaintance with practical 
anatomy ! and yet we hesitate not to award to Hippocrates, the distin- 
guished appellation of the Father of Medicine ! involving ourselves thereby 
in a dilemma, from which it may be difficult to escape! For if, as is at pre- 
sent generally admitted, anatomy is the great and legitimate basis of 
true medical science; how can we reconcile it to truth, to endow a man 
with an epithet so imposing, if we truly accredit his ignorance of the very 
foundation of his science ! If, on the contrary, the title is appropriate ; 
whilst we still persist in denying his anatomical acquirements; then, the 
necessary deduction, undoubtedly, must be, that anatomy is not essential to 
the knowledge of medicine ! 

The vast attainments of Hippocrates have, indeed, been in every age 
conceded ; and I believe it would be a work of infinite difficulty to prove 
a superiority of therapeutic skill, even in the present age, over that which 
he possessed ! It is true, indeed, that of the cases Hippocrates has recorded 
in his writings, the greater part proved fatal ! What then ; are we to deduce 
from thence, from about one hundred and fifty or two hundred cases of 
disease transmitted to us by him, that they were all he ever had? Un- 
questionably he had some particular reason for transmitting these to poste- 
rity, rather than others ; and he has shown a degree of candour, not often 
exemplified by his successors, who have chiefly recorded their successful 
cases, but have left their unsuccessful ones in the tombs of their patients ! 
Hippocrates was not a boaster ; had he been so, the practice of nearly 
three-fourths of a century would have doubtless afforded him ample scope 
for thousands of successful and remarkable cases ! But would they have 
been more instructive than the few he has left us? if indeed, it may not 
fairly be questioned, whether they were intended for ought but private 
reminiscences ; or how far they are to be considered as fully developing 
his practice, or even of proceeding from his pen. 

The facility which printing, and the rapidity of travelling by sea or land, 
now gives to the immediate dissemination of the works of the present day ; 
is in the deepest contrast with former times ; and places almost instantly 
on an equality, in every part of the globe, the man who has, perhaps, never 
expended a serious thought on the subjects of his professional pursuits ; 
and him who has experimentally inquired into, and diligently searched 
after them ! In those distant periods, on the contrary, few probably, what- 
ever might be their personal attainments, from a practice the most extensive, 
and a life the most prolonged ; few possessed the means of extending their 
information beyond their immediate vicinity ; or of transmitting their know- 
ledge to succeeding generations ! No periodic journals then existed, which, 
in the space of two or three months, could convey the local information of 


Egypt or Greece, to the utmost bounds of the Hyperborean regions; or 
reach, in far less time, the Ultima Thule of the Poets. Is it probable, how- 
ever, that the same ardent desire of information ; the same appetency of 
research ; did not, then, arrest the sedulous inquirer after Truth, in every 
department of scientific investigation, that is conspicuous in similar charac- 
ters of the present day ] Let none, however, venture to reply to this, who 
have feared to look into the writings of Hippocrates, of Aristotle, of Galen, 
and other illustrious ancients ; which, fortunately, have been preserved 
amidst the ravages of time; and stand, like the scattered Oases of the 
desert, inviting still, the weary traveller to revel in the feast the}' are capa- 
ble of affording ! 

Amidst the destruction of ancient libraries, by accident or design, the 
ignorance of the art of printing, may have for ever obliterated the single 
manuscript of some philosophic Physician, and thus have left him unknown 
to us, even by name ; and thereby silenced all his pretensions to the esteem 
of his successors. If we may be permitted to judge of writers now lost to 
us, (yet possibly the contemporaries of Aristotle, of Hippocrates, of Plato, 
and of others,) by the pages which their more fortunate destiny has pre- 
served from destruction ; we may venture to affirm, that Science was as 
sedulously cultivated as at present, with means inferior to those we now 
enjoy ! And this must be considered as giving them a strong claim to our 
respectful attention ; instead of that too common disposition to disparage 
all their contributions, and to consign them to perpetual obliviscence ! 

Resting my vindication of the anatomical knowledge of the ancients, in 
part, on the preceding general observations; I shall, I think, render it still 
more conclusive, by referring you to the pages of the immortal Aristotle, in 
his instructive and interesting treatises, de generatione animalium ; de 
historia animalium; et de partibus animalium. Aristotle lived during the 
period of Hippocrates, and was possibly acquainted with him. The latter 
was born about the 80th, the former about the 99th olympiad ; so that, although 
Aristotle mentions Hippocrates, he must have been too young to have been 
his associate and personal friend. In reading the works alluded to, there 
is infinitely too much practical information given, to permit a doubt of its 
being derived from immediate dissections, either by himself or by his pre- 
decessors and contemporaries ; and that, not merely of animals, as asserted, 
but of man himself. Permit me to ask the Comparative Anatomist of the 
present day ; whether, with the feeling awakened by an investigation of an 
inferior animal ; he could stop short in his inquiries of the nature of man ! 
He could not, I am persuaded, if really anxious in his pursuit of truth : and 
what he will thus feel to be true, of himself, individually ; he may readily 
conclude to be so of hundreds in every age, who have probably never left 
a vestige of their information behind them. If the few that have reached 
us, have less perfection in their researches, as recorded, than at present is 
the case,- let us remember that the art of injecting the vessels, and micro- 
scopic observations being then unknown ; a comparatively imperfect 


glimpse of the circulation could alone be perceived; and dissection itself 
could not be so minutely pursued, as it has been since the period of Harvey, 
of Ruysch, and others; a period scarcely reaching two hundred and fifty 
years back; but from which, indeed, we may trace the full developement of 
anatomical investigation. To all, however, that has been said, I must add 
the authority of both Galen and Celsus, men whose names are of some 
standing in medical literature; and whose veracity has, I believe never 
been questioned ! a due attention to what they have said will, I think, 
amply satisfy you, that anatomy was well understood and pursued by the 
ancients; and that it was not comparative alone. I must refer you to the 
original for the full detail of what I cursorily give from Galen's treatise, 
" Be anatomicis admi?nstrationibus, ,, (Lib. 2. cap I.) entitled " Cur ab anti- 
quis anatomica scriptis non tractarentur.' 1 '' 

His meaning, in a few words, is as follows: That the ancients have 
written nothing on anatomy, is by no means to be objected to them as a 
fault; inasmuch, as the subject was so common and frequent amongst them ; 
that even children pursued it under their parents' roofs, both by lecture and 
practically ; not only physicians, but philosophers studied it; and hence, 
there was but little apprehension of its being lost to the world. In process 
of time, however, this freedom of opinion and of inquiry being destroyed, 
and the exercise of anatomy being restrained ; it became gradually less 
accurately detailed by tradition; and it was requisite to preserve it in com- 
mentaries, rather than trust to speculation alone. He adds, nevertheless, 
that treatises on anatomy were not wanting ; and he especially refers to 
one, written by Diodes, who lived before Aristotle; as well as also to others, 
by both elder and younger members of the profession ! At length, says he, 
the knowledge of anatomy was principally intermingled in books, with the 
diagnosis, prognosis, and therapaeia of diseases, as is the case with Hip- 
pocrates ; but from the danger that these speculations should perish ; both 
on account of the negligence of the men of his day, as well as because it 
was no longer taught to youth ; he deemed it proper to write commentaries 
thereon himself. — I might add much more to this, but what is thus curso- 
rily mentioned, is worth a volume of objections to the anatomical know- 
ledge of the ancients ; and might well establish the propriety of a translation 
of the works of Galen ! I shall barely notice further incidentally, that 
Galen unquestionably suspected, if he did not absolutely know, that 
sensatioyi and motion were dependant on different nerves ! Idem. Lib. 3. 
His words are "Hsec itaque turn in interna manus regione, et pedis parte 
inferiore, cognovisse convenit, aliaque non pauca circa arterias, venas, ner- 
vosque : ac primum, non ex iisdern nervis, et sensum, et motum singulis 
digitis dispensari :" etc. This is in connexion with his relation of a case 
of considerable interest; at the conclusion of which he adds (and they are 
not the words of a merely comparative anatomist) "Dies me deficiret, si 
omnia percensere vellem, quae id genus juxta pedes manusque ; turn in 
militibus in bello convulneratis, turn hisce gladiatoribus, turn aliis multis 


privatis, conspexi accidisse medicis anatomes imperitis, per omnia se turpiter 
in ipsis gerentibus." At the same time, from a knowledge of the accidents 
from such ignorance in anatomy ; he states particularly, that he was accus- 
tomed to exhort young men, who pursued dissection (qui ad dissectionem 
studium incumbunt,) to acquaint themselves in the first place with the ana- 
tomy of the most important parts; since they see daily, physicians, who 
indeed know the number and nature of the membranes of the heart; or the 
muscles of the tongue, and other things of a like description ; yet ignorant 
of the structure of the external parts, and of the prognosis or cure of their 
affections;" &c. 

Celsus, when speaking of the different sects in medicine, in the excellent 
preface to his work, and of the importance of experience in addition to 
reasoning, &c, thus goes on (p. 7, Grieves' translation) " Besides, as 
pains, and various other disorders, attack the internal parts, they (viz. 
those who declare for the necessity of a theory in medicine) believe no 
person can apply proper remedies to those parts which he is ignorant of; and 
therefore that it is necessary to dissect dead bodies, and examine their viscera 
and intestines ,■ and that Herophilus and Erasistratus had taken far the best 
method for attaining that knowledge, who procured criminals out of prison, 
by royal permission, and dissecting them alive, contemplated, even whilst 
they were breathing, the parts which nature had before concealed ; consider- 
ing their position, colour, figure, size, order, hardness, softness, smoothness, 
and asperity ; also the processes and depressions of each, or what is in- 
serted into, or received by another part ; for, say they, when there happens 
any inward pain, a person cannot discover the seat of that pain, if he have 
not learned where every viscus or intestine is situated ,■ nor can the part which 
suffers, be cured by one, who does not know what part it is ; and that when 
the viscera happen to be exposed by a wound, if one is ignorant of the natural 
colour of each part, he cannot know what is sound, and what is corrupted; 
and for that reason is not qualified to cure the corrupted parts ; besides, 
they maintain, that external remedies are applied with much more judgment, 
when we are acquainted with the situation, figure, and size of the internal 
parts; and that the same reasoning holds in all the other instances above 
mentioned." If this be really the fact, certainly dissection has never since 
been carried to the same extent; and we reasonably suppose, therefore, that 
the healthy appearance of the different parts examined, was never so well ex- 
emplified by the dissections of dead bodies, by other anatomists : this being 
the case, we may well judge, from Celsus' observations, that the absolute 
and accurate knowledge of anatomy, (exclusive merely of what injections 
have elicited) may even have been superior to our own ! Proceeding in his 
observations, to the opposite sect of Empirics strictly so called, or those 
who denied the utility of reasoning in medicine, and therefore, as it might 
seem, opponents to anatomical investigation ; we find the practice of dissec- 
tion absolutely confirmed by that very opposition ! This would be, however, 
far too long for quotation, although amply deserving of your candid 



attention : the opinion of these opponents may, however, be learned, by the 
concluding observation of Celsus, viz. that for these reasons, " it is not 
necessary to lacerate even dead bodies ? which, though not cruel, yet may be 
shocking to the sight," &c. Celsus, at the termination of the whole pre* 
face, (p. 20.) thus speaks his own sentiments; after having illustrated 
those of the opposing sects, and given a variety of useful and important 
remarks. " Again, to dissect, (says he,) the bodies of living men, is both 
cruel and superfluous. But, the dissection of dead subjects, is necessary for 
learners ; for they ought to know the position and order of the parts, which 
dead bodies will show better than a living and wounded man. But as for 
the other things which can only be observed in the living bodies, practice 
itself will discover them in the cure of the wounded, somewhat more 
slowly, but with more tenderness."* 

I beg you, now, to consider whether the observations I have thus intro- 
duced to your notice, (and many of a similar character might be added,) 
convey the words of persons unacquainted, practically, with human anatomy, 
themselves ; or, in the least doubting the acquaintance of their predecessors 
therewith ! If these statements will not satisfy the greatest sceptics, as to 
the anatomical investigations of antiquity; it is my firm belief that they 
would not accredit the fact, even from the lips of one of the persons thus 
dissected, if he were to rise up before them ! I may be here permitted to 
remark, that half a century has scarcely elapsed, since the first School of 
anatomy was opened in America! If none of the thousands of our medical 
men ever pursued the subject before that period, how were students to gain 
the slightest knowledge in this important part of their professional inquiries ! 
for but a very small proportion of them visited the European shores ! And 
yet, no vestige of their inquiries have been left for our benefit. Twenty 
schools now present themselves in all directions ; and facilities of instruc- 
tion, unknown of old. Now, however, as then, and as from the beginning 
of time, unquestionably, the majority of mankind has opposed the practice 
of anatomy ; although, all are so intimately interested in the skill of the 
surgeon. The conviction of this truth ; and the consequent expectation of 
his having rendered himself fitted for practice ; has not removed in this day 
of philosophic apathy; nor will it probably, in any future period, remove 
the difficulties that environ its pursuit. 

Judge, then, how much greater difficulty must have formerly been super- 
added, in the superstitious conviction of the ancients, that the unburied 
corpse, consigned its tenant spirit to perpetual wanderings on the Stygian 
shores! Prejudices, differing in kind, but not less powerful than those of 
old, encircle the breast of the far larger portion of mankind ! Yet, all admit 

* This, and more that might be added, will demonstrate, I apprehend, that 
although Galen speaks of dissecting Apes ; yet he by no means wishes it to be 
understood, that he limited himself to them; if even, we can suppose a sufficient 
supply of them for that purpose. 


the necessity of dissection ; and, that without it, medicine as a science 
could have no existence! What is true then of us ; must be equally so of 
our medical progenitors, of the days of Hippocrates ; and equally so of his 
predecessors, to whom he awards all due credit, in various parts of his works, 
especially wherein he treats "de prisca medicina." Printing has long ren- 
dered facilities to science; and information can no longer be insulated in a 
small district of the globe. The time required formerly, to convey a solitary 
truth to some adjoining territory, can now promulgate it throughout the civil- 
ized world ; discoveries now made, are, by the press, rendered permanent and 
general in their extension ; in former ages, few, and far between, were the pro- 
mulgations of scientific research ! Difficult even, the task of preservation, 
from the paucity of requisite means; so that tradition was almost the only me- 
dium of conveyance; a medium, whose inadequacy, and whose uncertainty, 
we may well appreciate, by those ages of darkness, from whence tradition 
has transmitted the idle tales of Demigods, and chimeras, and every species 
of fantastic folly, that might arise in the fancy of individuals, and be pre- 
served in the annals of the nursery; whilst the more important intellectual 
banquet, or true historical narration on which they were founded, having no 
superior source of security than tradition ; by degrees became the property 
of the poet, and dwindled down at last into the legends of fanaticism and 
credulity ! Let us not, whilst thus admitting numerous sources by which 
the human mind was sunk below its level ; let us not suppose that the 
mighty master-spirits of the age were at all deficient, or, that the powers of 
their minds were not as active and efficient as in the present day ! In all 
ages, and in every region of the globe ; and under every variety of political 
government; the majority of mankind will ever be the hewers of wood 
and drawers of water: and, although from the facilities of science, her 
votaries may now be more numerous ; it would be the height of presump- 
tion to arrogate to ourselves, that exclusive power of research, &c. whilst 
the works of Homer, of Aristotle, Plato, Hippocrates, Galen, and many 
others, hold forth their claims to the highest ranks of literature and science ! 

I proceed now to consider, in the second place, how far Dr. Rush is 
correct in his assertion, that Hippocrates has confounded the offices of the 
Arteries and Veins ! 

And here, it might be sufficient, simply to state, that Dr. Rush has not 
adverted to the difference of meaning formerly applied to these two sets of 
vessels, if he indeed actually knew it. Before* mentioning this in particular, 

* The arteries and veins, if confounded by the ancients, yet their distinction 
was understood by others, as well as physicians. Aulus Gellius, in Book 18. 
chapter 10. shows this. Vide Bcloe's transl. vol. 3. p. 352. chap. 10. 

" Those persons arc mistaken, who imagine, when inquiring into the state of 
fever, that it is the pulse of the vein, and not of the artery, that they feel. 

"When the learned men who were with Taurus had heard the physician speak 
in so illiterate and improper a manner, calling the artery the vein, attributing his 
error to ignorance, they began to whisper to each other, and to signify disappro- 


it may be proper to show, generally, that numerous instances occur in early 
writers, as Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen, Celsus and others, not excepting 
the poets, both of Greece and Rome; proving that great latitude of expres- 
sion was permitted, and much difference of signification in terms, which 
now we have restricted to peculiar and definite meanings. The difficulty 
arising from this source will be readily appreciated, if you will take any 
word in our own language, and consider its various significations ; all of 
which may be fully and correctly understood by us ; but which would 
become the source of a thousand errors, in the hands of an inadequate 
foreigner, in translating it into another language : and this, more especially, 
if the word was spelt alike in every instance; and was similar only in 
sound. Apply this, now, to the imperfect translator from the Greek into 
the Latin, French, or English, &c. and see what a fertile source of error 
and confusion; rendered probably still more so, from the imperfection of a 
manuscript, or the interpolation of the text, by some commentator accord- 
ing to his own peculiar and sectarian views ! 

a. The word hemorrhois, now, specifically applied to an enlargement of, 
or discharge of blood from, the hemorrhoidal vessels ; was formerly em- 

bation by their looks ; which, when Taurus observed, turning with great mild- 
ness, as his custom was, to the physician, ' We have no doubt, worthy Sir,' he said, 
' that you are not ignorant of the distinction between arteries and veins ; you know 
that the veins have no power of moving themselves, and that we only examine 
them for the purpose of drawing away blood ; but that the arteries, by their motion 
and pulsation, show the state of the health, and the degree of intenseness of fever; 
but it is easy to see that you spoke rather with a view to accommodate yourself to 
the common mode of discoursing, than through ignorance of the nature of the 
vessels, and you are not the only person I have heard speaking so incorrectly, 
calling the artery the vein ;' " &c. 

This leads Gellius to investigate the matter ; and he tells us, he " remembered 
to have read on the subject of the veins and arteries nearly to the following pur- 
port. A vein, called by physicians ctyyttov, is a receptacle for the blood, mixed and 
blended with the vital spirit, in which the blood is in a much greater proportion 
than the spirit; an artery, on the contrary, is a receptacle for the vital spirit 
blended and mixed with the blood, but in which the spirit predominates. Xovy/uo;, 
pulsation, or the pulse, is the natural and involuntary motion or contraction and 
dilatation of the heart and arteries ; by the ancient Greek writers it is called the 
systole and diastole of the heart and arteries." 

The ancients called all the vessels of the body by the name ayyuov. Machaon 
applies it to the bag containing the foetus in utero. Angiologia is that part of ana- 
tomy that describes the vessels, veins, arteries, lymphatics, lacteals, &c. Beloc, 354. 
Blood-vessels were originally called by one name (veins, qytfii); Artery signified the 
Aspera arteria or windpipe ; observing at length that some vessels had a motion or 
pulsation, and others not, they supposed those endowed with motion to be filled 
with spirit or air, which it was thought they received from the lungs, and them 
they called arteries. Those without motion, and carrying blood, were called 



ployed, generically, for any species of haemorrhage. (Duretus, in Coacas. 
et De morb. mulier. p. 463, 464, § 19.) " Mulieribus notae graviditatis 
fluxiones aphthiferae dolorificae. Has pessime habet haemorrhois." On 
which, Duretus clearly shows, that the word haemorrhois is, by Aristotle, 
(de generatione Animal, cap. 19, lib. 1.) used generically, of any haemor- 
rhage (xipa. & gs»). It seems to have been applied by some writers (a/^oggcoc) 
to even signify a female in the period of menstruation : and Hippocrates, 
on more than one occasion, has applied it, particularly, to an haemorrhage 
from the lungs ; whilst the word haemorrhagia {general with us) seems to 
have been often used in an absolute manner, to designate our Epistaxis, or 
bleeding from the nose. Duretus, Coac. p. 217, 561. 

b. Stomach, with us, implies anatomically the whole of the viscus that 
receives the food for digestion ; but it was formerly, strictly appropriated 
to the cardia, or upper orifice of the stomach; or even for the gullet, or 
cesophagus itself, although occasionally used as we employ it. Hippocrates 
says, (de carnibus, see Fcesius. p. 249, 1. 27.) » <t>xpvv%, x.xi ° <ro/ux%cc, 
xxi » yxs-np, x.*i to. svrsgsi; ad eandem omnino rationem, fauces, gula, 
venter et intestina, &c. idem (Foes. 274, de Oss. natura) "per fauces et 
gulam (sro/u* Os & cty%a> coarcto) ftj** *a/>uy/oc hxi ro/ux^ov. See also, De 
corporis resectione, 916, where cesophagus and stomach are used as we 
mean them. Hippocrates seems to have used the word s-o/ux%os in his 
treatise de superfoetatione, to imply the os uteri.* The word gaster in 
Greek, in Latin ventriculus, is chiefly employed to mean, the stomach 
itself. (Duretus in Coac. p. 487, Tract. 4, de excrementis. "Sed aliunde 
profectam, ubi regnum est bilis, quae illinc prorepit ad furidum Ventriculi, 
et inde ad Stomachum, quinetiam omnes ideae proritati ventriculi atque 
stomachi, &c. Celsus employs the word stomachus pro Gutture, Lib. 4, c. 
1. p. 182. Amst. ed. of 1713. 

c. Cardia, as stated above, implies the upper orifice of the stomach; it 

* Gellius, book 17. cap. xi. p. 293, Beloe's translation. " Plutarch in his Sjmpo- 
siacs defends the opinion of Plato, relative to the structure of the oesophagus and 
windpipe and against Erasistratus, on the authority of Hippocrates." tCT Erasis- 
tratus was right, for Hippocrates and others supposed a part of the drink descends 
into the lungs, to moisten and support them. 

" (Esophagus ; the word s-o/ux%©', whence the Latin stomachus, is used by old 
Greek writers for any narrow passage or channel leading to a cavity. Hippocrates 
calls the neck of the bladder and of the uterus, stomachos, though now confined to 
the cesophagus or gullet which leads from the mouth to the ventriculus or stomach 
properly so called." 

Book 19. ch. 6. 378. On shame producing blushing', whilst fear blanches the 
checks, from the problems of Aristotle. Macrobius, book vii. ch. 11. Gellius re- 
peats from Aristotle, " Is it. because, in people ashamed, the blood flows from the 
heart to all parts of the body, so as to stop upon the surface; but in people afraid, 
it rushes //wn all quarters toward the heart. 

ILT'Sonie ideas of a circulation here seem apparent. 


means the heart in Greek, and yet from it we have many compound medical 
words, all connected with the stomach, and having no reference to the 
heart itself, as Cardialgia, Cardiagmos. 

d. The word Uterus, now specifically appropriated to an organ peculiar 
to the female; was formerly, not uncommonly applied to signify the cavity 
of the abdomen,* which indeed its etymology will justify {'XT" uter vel 
uterus, uteri, probably derived from uter, utris, meaning pellis, or a skin or 
bottle, in which wine or oil were kept.f In short, so numerous are the 
instances of a variation in ancient and modern nomenclature, whether arising 
from wrong translations, imperfect copies of original manuscripts, or total 
misconception of the determinate meaning of the word in the place em- 
ployed ; that, certainly, if this be unattended to, we shall be liable to the 
grossest mistakes, as to the real state of ancient medical writings, and pro- 
bably, as in the present case, do great injustice to a man, whom we other- 
wise wish to honour. 

With these preliminary observations, we are probably now better pre- 
pared to estimate the terms of Artery and Vein, whose offices are said by 

* Uterus, pro abdomine, Celsus, p. 183. Amst. 1713. "At sub corde atque 
pulmone, transversum ex valida membrana septum est, quod a prsecordiis uterum 
diducit," &c. 

t The variation of meaning, in words, may be well exemplified in a few refe- 
rences to the word Uterus. The Greek terms for the uterus, or womb, appear to 
be, M»T/>a, hence matrix. — N»<f/?, venter, vel receptaculum, (Old Lexicon,) "apud 
Hippoc, significat omnem cavitatem atque conceptaculum quo humor alendis par- 
tibus idoneus continetur. Item uterus, ut et Lat. alvus pro utero sumitur." Ai\- 
<j>i/f, vulva, uterus. Dictus uterus, quod in eo, tanquam in utre quodam foetus con- 
tineatur, (Plaut. in Aulul.) bine uterum ferre dicuntur, quae gravida; sunt, tv ycts-tpt 
tyit. It is also called vg-fpa., from vripo;, ur/ioc, venter, posterior; hence, ustera 
vulva vel uterus, quod extremum locum inter viscera obtineat. Crispinus Lcxic. 
That uterus and venter are reciprocally taken for each other, may be shown from 
Virgil and from Ovid. Thus, the former, mentioning the belly of the wooden horse, 
as filled with the Greeks, says : — 

— " Uterumque armato milite com.fle.nV — JEn. 2, 1. 20. 
" Inclusos utero Danaos, &c." — Id. 1. 558. See also 1. 258. 
Whilst the latter, (Met. lib. 10, 1. 505,) says :— 

" Media gravidus tumet arbore venter.' 1 '' 
And in Met. 11, 1. 311 :— 

" Ut sua maturus complevit tempora venter." 

Vulva, whose present meaning seems rather to apply to the pudendum or fora- 
men majus, or even perhaps the labia externa, seems formerly to have implied the 
womb itself; as in Aristotle, de Gencrat. Animal, lib. 1, cap. 12 : and as we learn 
from the line of the poet, commemorating the delicacy of the gravid uterus as a 
bon bouche, where lie exclaims, 

"Nil melius turdo, nil vulva pulchrius ampla." Hor. Ep. lib. 1. Ep. 15. 1. 41. 
And Celsus employs the word in various places, synonymously with uterus. (Lib. 
5, 1. 26, p. 286. Grieve, p. 274.) 


Dr. Rush to have been confounded by Hippocrates. The Greek word, sig- 
nifying a vein, is qx<6c or <p\t€», from whence our term of phlebotomy. 
Now it is indisputable, that this same word implied, not only the veins of 
the body, but also the veins of metal in the earth; and the strong fibres or 
ribs of leaves; so that it might be thus viewed generically. But what is 
more to our purpose, the word <p\iC; implied a vessel of any kind, (Fcesius, 
p. 86, note F.) or generally, vessels, as will presently appear. Now, 
although in the writings of Hippocrates, the word arteria is not uncommon, 
yet, if used without an adjunct, it more particularly seems to mean the tra- 
chea arteria, or windpipe. This adjunct renders the case specific; as arte- 
ria aorta. In like manner, when phlebs is used for artery, it is discrimi- 
nated by the adjunct of pulsating ,- and in the writings of Hippocrates and 
Aristotle, and almost every ancient author, the generic term of vein or vessel 
was subdivided into vense pulsantes, or arteries ; and the venae non-pulsantes, 
or veins proper. This distinction was so universal, that it reached to the 
time of Galen ; and we might even say to the assumed period of the great 
discovery of the real character of the circulation of the blood, by Harvey. 
Galen, (de Caus. Morb. c. 3. et de Anatomicis;) makes the artery to differ 
from a vein, "quod vena sit vas sanguinem continens, non pulsans ; sed 
arteria est vas pulsans." Again, in his book, (de Corporis Temperatura, 
Bas. Ed. 1536, fol. p. 12, 1. 25,) in explaining Hippoc. in 2d or 6th Epi- 
demics, when he speaks of the vein (<pKt€s) in the cubit, pulsating ,- he says, 
that here, Hippocrates means the artery ; adding, " Venas etenim et arte- 
rias veteres vocabant, ut saepius annotavimus."* 

* ARTERIA— Vide Bas. Fabri. Thesaurus Erudit. Scholast. Ed. Lips. 1696. 

Aprifnet. Spiritus Semita. — Pliny, lib. 2, cap. 37, sub fin. 

Prudentius, in Hymno ante Cibum, calls it, Vena abdita corde. 

References (Seneca, lib. 3, Nat. Qucestiones, cap. 15; Pliny, lib. 2, cap. 36; Gel- 
lius, lib. 18, cap. 10.) to show that a distinction is made between the artery and 
vein ; which distinction not being strictly attended to by authors, vein is often put 
for artery, of which numerous examples are shown by Marsilius Cognatus, a phy- 
sician of Verona. Observat. lib. 1, cap. 6. 

By the term artery, the two passages to the stomach and lungs from the fauces, 
have been called ; (Gula, Pliny i) also, fistula cibalis, and f. spiritualis ; (Lactantius, 
de Opific. Dei, cap. 2 :) principally confined, however, to the windpipe, as, arteria, 
or asp. art. or rf>ct%iici ctprifux. ; (Cicero, lib. 2, de Natura Deorum, c. 54 ; Plin. lib. 
2, c. 37 ; Gellius, lib. 17, cap. 11 :) aspcriora arteria, (Lucretius, lib. 4, v. 532 :) 
arteria, vena vitalis, vet. Gloss. 

Calepini. Ang. An arteriee or vayne, wherein vitale spirite miyed with bloode 
doth runne in te bodie. 

VENA. Faber. Thes. Erud., &c. p. 2439-40, Leips. 1696. 

Rivum sanguinis. — Plin. 

Sanguis per venas in omne corpus diffunditur, et spiritus per arterias. — Cicero 
de Nat. Deor. cap. 55. 

Difference between art. and veins, Gellius, lib. 18, c. 10, from medical books is 


Celsus uses the word generically in many places ; and lience Grieves, in 
his translation of that author, takes an early opportunity, (p. 5, Preface, 
Lond. Ed. 8vo. 1756,) to point out the fact. " Vessels, (says he in a note,) 
in the original, vena, which is used by our author as a general term for ar- 
teries and veins. In this place (he adds) it is evident he means arteries." — 
" And he often speaks of the motion of the veins, where, it is plain, he in- 
tends the pulsation of the arteries. Arteria, he uses to signify the wind- 
pipe, and also the sanguiferous arteries, as in ch. 1, of B. 4." 

The term arteria, taken alone, implied as I have said, for the most part, 
the trachea arteria, or windpipe ; strictly and correctly meaning, a receptacle 
or passage for the air or spirits. Now the arteries being generally found 
empty after death ; they were imagined, principally to convey the animal 
spirits, commingled with a portion of the blood. According to Duretus, (p. 
427, 1. 39,) the focus, or centre of heat was placed in the heart by the an- 
cients; and the air was supposed to be drawn into the lungs, in order to 
moderate it; hence, arteria, originally and truly, was applied to the wind- 
pipe alone; and as the arteries, or vense pulsantes, were presumed to convey 
the vital spirit, or air; they likewise, ultimately obtained the name of ar- 
teries. The etymology of the word, is from nap* to ays. rxpuv, that is, 
aerem ducere, or attollere. In referring to Aristotle, we shall find him (lib. 
3, cap. 3, de partibus animalium,) using the word arteria for windpipe; and 
scarcely in reference to any other part. In his treatise " de Corde," he tells 
us, that two veins (meaning the aorta and vena cava,) arise from the heart, 
because of the double nature of the blood ; and he elsewhere adds, that 
blood is no where found out of a vein. Whilst then, we find numerous in- 
stances of a distinction drawn by the ancients between the veins and arte- 

thus given. Ut venas dicat " Conceptacula sanguinis mixti confusique cum spiritu 
naturali, in quibus plus sanguinis, minus spiritus sit : arterias conceptacula spiritus 
misti confusique cum sanguine, in quibus plus spiritus, minus sanguinis sit. Venas 
itaque suapte vi immobiles esse et sanguinis tantum demittendi gratia explorari : 
arterias autem motu atque pulsu suo habitum et modum febrium demonstrare. 

It was not uncommon in exploring the pulse, to name the vein instead of the 
artery, both among the Greeks and Romans — Vide Persius, Sat. 3. v. 107; (also ». 
91, of Arterial Pulsation O" currere venas.) Seneca, Epist. 22. So also Pliny, 
Pulsus Venarum, lib. 2, c. 97 : and percussum Venarum, lib. 7, c. 51. Val. Max. 
lib. 5. c. 7, v. 91. 

Aristotle, Hist. Animal. 3, cap. 4, calls the aorta, vena minor; and the cava, v. 
major. P. 140, principium venarum (qxeGwy) cor est. P. 134, pulsantes vena; et 
non pulsantes, dc part, animal., 2, c. 9, &c. 

Xotkn qKiCa (hollow veins), Hippoc. de Carnibus Fees. 250. So called by him 
and others, to distinguish them from the veins of metal, or the ribs of leaves, which 
are solid, yet called phlebes. 

See even Harvey as to the ancient nomenclature of veins for arteries. P. 23, 
Anat. Exercit. on the motion of the heart, ch. 3, refers to Aristotle, de Animal., c. 
9, de Respirat, and also to Galen. 


ries ; we also find sufficient to satisfy us, that they looked upon them as 
not very dissimilar. And accordingly Aristotle, in one place, says, that 
the vein going to the lungs, is arterial ; and the artery is veinal ; an expression 
strongly implying some suspicion of the lesser, or pulmonary circulation. 
It would appear clearly, I think, that the term vein, or canal, was applied 
to the vascular system generally, before the introduction of that of artery. 
The aorta was usually called aorta arteria, and probably was derived 
from the Greek word, <*o?, signifying spirit, and in so far, analogous to ar- 
teria; for according to Fcesius, (de locis in homine, p. 415, 1. 19,) the word 
aorta is employed by Hippocrates for the aspera arteria; and from what 
Duretus says, (praen. Coac. Gen. Ed. fol. 1665, p. 272, and note, p. 275,) 
aorta (aoprat), appears also to have meant the substance of the lungs, or ra- 
ther the bronchia pulmonum or air-vessels, "the substance of the lungs, 
says he, besides its fleshy, spongy part, consists of a triple union of the 
arteria venosa, the vena arteriosa, and the aspera arteria." In his chap. 
17, de Corde, Aristotle points out that the blood is contained in the veins, 
and not in the lungs ; by which he appears to draw the line between the 
parenchyma and the vascular portion. " Et cum pulmo non intra se, sed in 
venas contineat sanguinem," &c. On this subject we may likewise consult 
Galen as to noprn, in his books, de Dissectione Arteriarum, and de Usu 
Partium. — Homer uses the term ; and Duretus says, that according to some, 
it is by no means improbable, that aorta was, in fact, a common name for 
all arteries ; that is, pulsating veins, or vessels conveying the vital spirits. 
We may add, that Aristotle even pretends to point out a difference between 
the veinous and arterial vessels; viz., that the pulsating veins (arteries) 
have two coats, and the non-pulsating, only one ,- (Corol. de Anat. Ven. non- 
puls. etpuls. 390.) Cicero, in his treatise, de Natura Deornm, conforms to 
the received opinion of the different functions of the arteries and veins, 
when he says, " Sanguis per venas, et spiritus per arterias." And the 
poets, as Ovid and others, assuredly use the word vein generically for 

But although Hippocrates, in common with his contemporaries and suc- 
cessors, employed these terms indiscriminately, (or rather, I should say, 
that of vein for artery, but never the reverse ;) yet it appears equally cer- 
tain that he did not confound them, as is evident, from several of his writ- 
ings: thus, (de Carnibus, Fees. 250, 1. 9 to 30,) in speaking of the vessels 
arising from the heart, " There go," says he, " from the heart, two hollow 
veins ; one of which is called the artery, the other, the vena cava. The 
artery is hotter than the vena cava, and distributes the spirits ; besides those 
veins, there are others," &c. "In a word, from the V. C. and from the 
artery, originate all the vessels (<j>as£sc) of the body." And in another trea- 
tise, (de Alimento, Fees. 382,) he expressly derives the veins from the liver, 
the arteries from the heart : " Venarum origo tanquam radix, hepar est; et 

* Metamorph. lib. 2, 1. 824 ; 6, 1. 307 ; 7, 1. 291 ; 10, 1. 289. 


arteriarum, Cor. Ex his, per omnia sanguis et spiritus pervagatur, calor- 
que per haec permeat. Facultas una et non una, ex qua hsec omnia, et ab 
his diversa administrantur." Now here, the words <pki£m and etpTtpiav, are 
respectively employed ; and it would seem adequate to settle the question" 

If we look into Aristotle, (de Hist. Anim. lib. 1, cap. 1G,) we find he 
speaks of the aorta as a vein. " Atque ea singulari arteria partes in utrum- 
que pulmonis latus duae dependent. Venae quoque majori, ac alteri, cui 
nomen est aorta;, pulmo connectitur. Spiritus vero, quoties infiatur arteria, 
cava subit pulmonis." 

Again, (in his lib. 3, idem, cap. 2 & 3,) he takes up the consideration of 
the different opinions, " de sanguine et venis," of Syennesis, Med. Cret. ; and 
Diogenes Appolloniati. From which it would appear, that even then, the 
nature of the blood and the origin of the veins had already become a subject 
of dispute among authors ; and that Aristotle was desirous of rectifying 
their errors. The nature of the principal veins being obscured by their col- 
lapse by death, Aristotle opposes the opinions of the above named physicians, 
and then takes up those of Polybius, (probably the son-in-law of Hippo- 
crates,) and endeavours to refute them. Polybius appears to have main- 
tained (chap. 3,) the existence of four pair of veins, the first of which (a 
Sincipite ortum,) pass down, &c, whilst other writers seem to have derived 
the ivhole from the head and brain ; a position asserted by Aristotle to be 
erroneous ; and he then proceeds to give his own views of the subject. 

" Two veins,'" says he, " are found in the thorax, opposite the spine; a 
larger and a smaller. The latter, called the aorta by some. Both arise 
from the heart. The aorta, although smaller, being much the strongest. 
They end in branches that are lost to the sight, from their minuteness." And 
he then states their subdivisions, in this and the 4th chapter : in the which, 
(de Partibus Animal, lib. 2, ch. 4,) it is said, thru in animals respiring, two 
kinds of veins appear, viz., pulsating and non-pulsarng. His commentator 
adds, that Galen thinks the pulsating veins appropriated to convey the 
spirit, which carries the heat with it, though he admits they also con- 
vey blood ; yet that the non-pulsating veins are more adapted to convey 
this last ; still the former carry the spirit to the members ; and inasmuch as 
the blood is the aliment of the members, it was essential that this fluid 
should be devoid of sensibility. On this point, in ch. 10, he says, "the 
power of feeling is not given to any part devoid of blood; nor is it appro- 
priate to the blood itself; but it afforded it to the parts proceeding from it : 
hence, no part devoid of blood, in those who have blood, can feel, neither 
the blood itself; because ! it is no part of the animal ! Those parts only are 
sensible that have blood." 

Inattention to what I have thus largely dwelt upon, has I think, unques- 
tionably, misled Dr. Rush, and probably many others ; who could not, with 
such ample testimony before them, have on this point aspersed the credit 
of Hippocrates. Independently of the word phlebs being used for both 
artery and vein, I have stated that it was also employed to designate every 


different species of vessel,- and hence we find Hippocrates, (tie Nat. Ossium, 
Fees. 274,) using <p\i€n to characterize the canals leading- from the vesiculae 
seminales to the termination in the urethra;* and which may possibly serve 
to explain another part of Dr. Rush's assertions, viz., that Hippocrates con- 
founded the offices of the arteries and veins with the ureters; or perhaps, 
where speaking of the kidneys, he says, " They have some resemblance to 
the heart, and like it, have cavities, &c, from which proceed a vein to the 
bladder." The word phlebs, here, must necessarily imply the hollow duct, 
or ureter; for Celsus, (lib. 4, c. 1,) without circumlocution, calls the ure- 
ters, veins ; no doubt, meaning thereby, canals or ducts or passages or 
vessels. "A renibus singulae venae, colore albas, ad vesicam feruntur: 
bf>ir>if>xs Graeci vocant, quod per eas inde descendentem urinam in vesicam 
distillare concipiunt." And hence we again infer, that this term was by 
no means so restricted by the ancients, when applied to the animal eco- 
nomy, as it is at present. If further proof is wanting, even of its applica- 
tion to the ureter, it may be found, I think, in the following, from Aristotle, 
(Hist. Animal, cap. 18,) when speaking of the kidneys, " Pertinent ad renes 
meatus, tam ex vena majori, qnam ex aorta," &c. " Habent igitur, sinum 
exiguum, a quo meatus duo insignes ad vesicam deveniunt. Alii et ex aorta 
frequentes, ac validi eadem perteudunt. Ex medio autem renum singulorum 
venae singulas cavae, nervosae dependent, spinam praetereuntes ipsam angusto 
itinere," &c. Indeed, even so late as Blancard, (vide Med. Lex.) we find 
it stated, as if not then obsolete, that "arteriae aliquando pro venis su- 
munter :" whilst under the word nervus, he says, " Nervus, tendo, et liga- 
mentum male a chirurgis confunduntur." Surely, if this loose nomencla- 
ture was common so lately as in the days of Blancard, almost, we may say, 
a contemporary; it does not follow, that the anatomists of his time were 
unacquainted with their distinction of uses, &c. ! and if we cannot venture 
tochargethem with ignorance, although guilty of calling parts by other names 
than are now familiar; why should Hippocrates and his contemporaries be 

* As some persons appear to have thought that the word qkiGh, here used, 
means rather the venae spermatica? ; I give, both the original, and the Latin of 

" Ev Si aura; <»>*.«£« t^a-ripuS-iv th oupifrnfoc h toy aiSoiov tiivoiti." — Hipp. 

" Ex his autcm locis venae ab utraque meatus urinarii parte in pudendum ferun- 
tur." — Foes. 

Galen, (de Anatomicis Administrationibus, lib. 6, ch. 13,) tells us, that an use- 
less dispute had been maintained by the anatomists, as to the name of the ureter, 
and whether it were more appropriate to call it an artery or vein. 

This subject appears to be renewed in Galen's treatise " de Naturalibus faculta- 
tibus." Thus, when relating an experiment of tying up the ureters, intended to 
disprove the opinion of Asclepiades, relative to the passage of drinks to the bladder; 
the explanation he gives of the ureters, throws considerable light upon the ancient 
views of different tubes in the body ; which, although intended for different pur- 
poses, had yet the common appellation, of (<f>M&,) phlebs or vein, given to them. 


more hardly dealt with 1 Such inaccuracies, if they may be so deemed, may 
require elucidation; but it assuredly is beyond the boundary of just and 
defensible criticism, to make them the foundation of so strong a charge 
against so deservedly eminent a writer; and more so, when we consider 
this charge, as not even pointing to any one solitary passage of his works, 
by which we might ascertain the correctness of so sweeping a denunciation ! 

After all that has been urged, let me still be permitted to ask, what it is 
that Dr. Rush intrinsically means, when he asserts that Hippocrates 
" confounds the offices of the arteries and veins . ? " Is there, in point of fact, 
any distinction between them 1 are they not both, at least as to their larger 
branches, to be considered as merely channels, formed to serve a purpose, 
that in no other way could be so well accomplished '? viz., that of convey- 
ing a mobile living fluid to and from every part, where nourishment and 
secretion are required ; If it be objected that the arteries and arterial blood, 
alone, are intended for this purpose ; I ask, is not the vena porta as important 
in its secretory functions as any artery in the body 1 or, may I not rather 
ask, that inasmuch as the functions of life are principally connected with 
the minute extremities of the vascular and nervous systems; extremities, 
so exquisitely small, as to baffle even microscopic aid, and leave us in the 
uncertain fields of speculation ! whether, we have any absolute and well- 
grounded knowledge of the real operation, the ultimate functions of those 
delicate parts'? if this be so, how can we in any certainty declare their 
offices different ! or why has Dr. Rush left this unexplained ? As mere 
vessels of conveyance, I know of none that possibly can exist, except, per- 
haps, the valves in the veins ; — as organs of secretion in their ultimate 
extremities, both subserve the intention, for especial purposes ! Is indeed 
our knowledge so accurately sustained, as to enable us to affirm that we 
are more fully masters of the process of sanguification, or nutrition than 
Hippocrates or Galen 1 Are we prepared definitively to assert, that those 
great men were wrong in considering the liver to possess a prominent part 
in this extraordinary process of sanguification ? or that the great and prin- 
cipal vessels of the body (such as do not require the aid of injection to 
demonstrate) were not fully known and appreciated 1 as we know was the 
fact with the anastomosis of the vessels.* 

It is here, you will perceive, that the ignorance ascribed to Hippocrates, 
as to the Circulation, would appropriately be considered ; but I have already 
anticipated it in a great measure, in connexion with the preceding part. I 
shall therefore only request you to remember, that, admitting our present 
views of that important function to be perfect and complete ; it is scarcely 
two hundred years since the sagacity of Harvey, assisted by the collateral 

* Hippoc. de locis in Homine. (Fees. p. 409.) " Hre autem omnes venre inter 
se communicant, et mutuo confluunt." And indeed, we may add, that the sympa- 
thy of the breast and genitals, is ascribed, in a great degree, to the anastomosis of 
the mammary and epigastric arteries. 


aid of microscopes and injections ; perfected, what was suspected long 
before him; and although correct in some parts, his explanation of other 
parts, (Exerc. ch. 3. p. 24.) would not be more satisfactory to the numerous 
physiological inquirers of the present day, than that of Hippocrates or 
Galen. Surely, if our medical ancestors ot only two centuries past are 
not blameable for their ignorance in respect to the circulation ; it can 
scarcely be deemed just to asperse the character of a man who lived twenty 
centuries ago, for a deficiency in the same particular. If he did not com- 
prehend the circulation as now taught, he yet sufficiently appreciated the 
high importance of the blood ; perhaps he even considered it more highly, 
than at least, the exclusive Solidists can be supposed to do, conformably 
to their contracted opinions ; for he regards it as one of the four important 
humours of the body, on whose changes, the operations of disease and 
health do in a great degree depend. That he admitted of its motion, 
however, there cannot be a reasonable doubt, although its regular and sys- 
tematic line of march may not have been distinctly understood. He ac- 
knowledges its passage, and that a very free one, to all and every part of 
the body ! Nor is its importance, as I have remarked, more highly esti- 
mated by any writer of any age ! In speaking of the heart, (Foes. p. 269.) 
he says, "the two ventricles are the sources of the life of man ; from them 
issue forth those streams that irrigate, and carry life with them to every 
part." As a medium of therapeia, few writers have given better and more 
forcible instructions as to venisection than Hippocrates. He bled as freely, 
when occasion required, as we do now ; and with a judgment not surpassed 
in the present day. And why indeed should this not be the case? Venae- 
section is a remedy to be fully appreciated, only by experience ,- and not 
depending for its propriety on vague and hypothetical notions ! Surely 
then, if now, each practitioner, just emerging from our benches, deems 
himself a master of the language of the vessels, from merely hearing some 
remarks on the subject; and boldly prescribes veneesection according to 
his as yet unpractised judgment; surely, 1 repeat, this important measure 
cannot be presumed defective, when issuing from the mandate of an expe- 
rience of more than half a century; even though we may admit an igno- 
rance of the real route of the circulating fluid. 

Having, I trust, not unsuccessfully, vindicated Hippocrates as to his 
asserted ignorance of anatomy, and confounding the uses of the veins and 
arteries, &c. ; I proceed, thirdly, to consider how far he has confounded the 
uses of the nerves, tendons, and ligaments ,■ or rather, how far he has ascribed 
the same uses to them.* 

Now here I cannot doubt, that a little care bestowed by Dr. Rush, in 
investigating the meaning of the words, as formerly understood ; or, as 
by metonymy, employed occasionally, indiscriminately ; yet without de- 

* Geoffroy and Savory. Diet, de Sc. Med. V. 2. Anatomic, p. 38, assert that 
Aristotle and Hippocrates confounded the nerves, ligaments, and tendonst 


stroying the intrinsic original meaning of each ; would have satisfied him, 
that although, both by poets and philosophers, they have thus been fre- 
quently placed for each other; yet, that their distinctive use and application 
was more perfectly understood by Hippocrates, than by them. And this 
being demonstrated, will necessarily satisfy you of the incorrectness of this 
part of the aspersion thrown on Hippocrates. 

The Latin word Nervus (which in the English, implies simply the organ 
anatomically denominated nerve;) has yet, even in the English, the ad- 
jective, nervous, implying strength and vigour ; and that, both physically 
and metaphorically. Now this Latin word nervus is derived from the 
Greek vwpov, as is admitted by most etymologists. As giving- a term of 
strength, therefore, it was applied to other parts and things, and where 
tone and vigour were pre-requisites ; or, to imply somewhat which directly 
or remotely might be considered as connected with power. Thus, meta- 
phorically, Demosthenes, Cicero, and most of the ancient orators and poets 
have figured money, as being the "Nervi belli." And Quintillian, equally 
uses it in reference to the mind, when he speaks (Education, lib. 1. cap. 2.) 
of the " nervi sapientiae nil temeri credere," a metaphor, to which I 
earnestly request your attention, in the consideration of the subject now 
before us. "Frangere nervos et mentis et corporis ;" is another metaphor 
of equal beauty in the hands of Quintillian. And I may here remark, that 
what the ancients implied under the term of nervus belli, viz. money; we 
equally designate, by a metaphor, wherein we drop the word nerve, and 
employ sinew in its place ; thus we say, that money is the sinew of war; 
but we speak of nervous language or speech, in common implying vigour 
or strength, alike, in Greek, Latin, or in English. This being the fact, 
can it be considered as surprising, that the same figure, should give the 
term of vtupov to the sinew, or tendon ; a part in which strength is pecu- 
liarly called for ; as is the case in various parts of the writings of Hippo- 
crates 1 (Fees. p. 277. 1. 16. Be oss. Natura, on flexion et extension ;) or that it 
should in like manner be employed to designate the string of a bow or cata- 
pulta : — (Ovid and others, — Terence, in Phormio act. 2. sc. 2. v. 11.) 
Neither can we wonder at its occasional employment to mean the stocks, 
or wooden vinculum for the feet. (Tertul. leg. 12. Tab.) That it was 
intended to imply vigour in the highest degree, may be also inferred, from 
finding the word veupov employed by Aristophanes (in Avibus) to signify the 
penis, or membrum virile. Tibullus, an amatory poet, has used it with the 
same intention, in his poem "ad Priapum;" and Juvenal, in his ninth and 
tenth satires, seems to equally employ it thus. 

That it was intended to imply strength, is also obvious, from finding 
that even the nerve, (as now distinguished) is at times called tovsc, as in 
Hippoc. de Corde (Fcesius p. 269. 1. 46.) et de ossium natura, (id. 277. 1. 
17.) and that he distinguished them succinctly from the tendons properly 
so called, is obvious, when speaking of the origin of the nerves (vtupusv 
de Nat. Oss. Fees. 274. 1. 27.) he tells us, that it is from the occiput, and 


along the spine; whilst elsewhere, they are metaphorically used for, the 
tendons of the muscles and the ligaments of the joints (de Nat. Pueri. Fees. 
281. 1. 19.) That by rovoi Hippocrates comprehends the nerves, is rendered 
more obvious, (vtpi apBpov, vel de articulis,) by a note F. p. 1002 of Fees. 
CiT" references) as well as from Galen de Articulis ; and hence, says 
Fcesius, " since rovci comprehends in its signification, the nerves, it was 
unnecessary to express them particularly. Hippocrates sometimes simply 
says tow, at others he adds the generic distinction, as tow vtupufe*.*;. The 
remainder of the genus he calls ftvovra, and hence we have viupuSiac Teyov- 
t*c ; and hence perhaps the ancients called by the common name of nerve, 
(vmpav) the three genera of nerves, tendons, and ligaments. (Galen. 6. Epi- 
dem. Com. 1. It nevertheless is the fact, that from Hippocrates down- 
wards, (although, occasionally, thus metaphorically or synonymously used, 
yet,) the intrinsic and real meaning of nerves, was the chords proceeding 
from the brain and spinal marrow, which are the instruments of feeling, &c. 
Thus, Cicero (2. Nat. Deorum. c. 23,) says: — 

" Nervis enim vis incst sentiendi, oriuntur ex cerebro." 

What is a little remarkable ; and arising probably from the idea that the 
nerves were hollow ; and hence, as vascular, coming under the name of vein 
or phlebs; we are told by Erotian, that Hippocrates calls the veins them- 
selves voupov ivuijuov, (sanguine prseditus. I cannot find the place in Hippo- 
crates, it not being rioted.) 

From what has been stated from various sources, it would then appear, 
I think, that although Hippocrates under the common name of nerve, 
(vtupw) with Aristotle and others, occasionally implies both nerve and 
tendon ; yet that, from various parts of his writings, we gather distinctly 
the respective origin of the nerves, of the tendons, and of the ligaments, 
as separate and independent parts. If, however, in this illogical nomen- 
clature, he has but followed the order of the day; he must at least be freed 
from the imputation of confounding their uses in the animal economy ! Occa- 
sions indeed are not wanting, in which, by the application of various terms 
together, the specific character of each becomes identified. Thus, in his 
treatise on fractures, (Foes. 759,) when speaking of the risk attending a fall 
or leap from on high, he says, " that thus roughly falling on the heel, the 
bone is luxated, the flesh is bruised, the fluids forced from their vessels, 
(pxeC/* venula?,) and much swelling and pain attends. There is (he adds) 
a large bone, the astragalus, placed directly below the tibia, which is 
connected by vessels and nerves, (<p\t*±.i %xi vtvpois) the tendo achillis (o rtvov) 
being inserted into the lower part of the os calcis." This quotation, aptly 
and sufficiently proves, that the distinction of nerve, tendon, and vessel, 
must have been familiar to him ; or he never would have named them alto- 
gether in one place ! It would be sufficient, indeed, to assert its sanction 
by general use, which cannot be doubted; and therefore, that no possible 
blame could attach to Hippocrates. Metaphoric language was more com- 
mon then, than now ; and we might as rationally conclude, that Dr. Rush 


himself misapplied, or misunderstood his terms, when he, in common with 
the medical world, speaks of a nervous fever ; or nervous temperament, &c. 
as, that Hippocrates was ignorant of the distinction of his terms.* 

We need only further on this point, to look into the works of Homer ; and 
here, by poetic licence, if not legitimately, we shall find the words t«vgvt« 
or tendons, veufwv or nerve, and even <p\iCn or vein (rather vessel) indis- 
criminately used on more than occasion : and it may be added, that they 
are almost as indiscriminately translated by Pope within the period of the 
last century.* 

4. I shall now, in succession, endeavour to show, that the assertion of 
Hippocrates mentioning but one muscle, {the Psoas,) in the human body, is 
equally unfounded : and that, whether we take the meaning to be, either 
that Hippocrates has only mentioned this one muscle by name; although 
he might be otherwise a proficient in myology; or that he knew not, that 
any other muscle actually existed. The meaning seems to be of this last 
character: but as the Doctor has not fully explained himself, I prefer to 
give his words their utmost latitude. So far, then, as it respects the first of 
these propositions, we may mention his expressly calling the heart, a 
muscle ; (de Corde, Fees. p. 268) which is all, that we at present denominate 
it. He moreover, when speaking of a luxation of the lower jaw, expressly 
calls by name, (the temporal muscle) the crotaphite and masseter muscles, 

* Nou/>ov, Nervus, Duretus p. 18. tovoc 1. 41. signifies tonus, vel ipsum robur, tendo, 
et ligamentum. Nervus, triplex, viz. Tonus, tendo, ct ligamentum. Tow or the 
true nerve, is a propagation from the brain and spinal marrow. 

Hov r n, nervi, p. 423. Here the term is sufficiently explained in its various 
meanings by Duretus, as those " qui sunt motus et sensus authores, nati e cere- 
bro et ejus propagine spinali medulla ; turn qui e musculis enascuntur, et in articu- 
los inseruntur, rivovrdt Grsci vocant: turn qui articulos ipsos connectunt, faciunt- 
que ilium <ru<uipucreai? &c. Ac certe ilia tria nervorum genera continent ipsos artus, 
(femores :) primum quidern, impertiendo movendi vim et sentiendi : alterum ad 
ducendis et abducendis membrorum articulis : tertium connectando artuum, per 
arthrodia, ginglymus, et enarthrosis. 

Vide also his reference to 418, on the subject. See also, Faber's Thesaurus, 
its various significations. O" Aristophanes uses it for the penis : now, suppose 
some ill-judging translator was to employ the term in this sense ! What could be 
said ? 

Aristotle in ch. 5. hist. Animal, we/w vovpcov and their origin; here, under this term, 
he seems rather to mean the tendons and ligaments, than what we now understand 
by nerve. 

Id. ch. 9. vcvpoh, for ligaments, the bones " nervis deligantur." 

* Homer, lib. 5. 1. 307 ~) 

14. 465 vtsvovti \CT nerve, Pope. 

20. 478 J 

8. 328 v«//>*v 0= tendon, do. 

13. 546 <f\fC<t (£T 


and that in more than one place. Other examples might, I believe, be readily 
shown ; but these are fully adequate to my purpose, which is to prove that 
he was neither ignorant of myology, nor of its nomenclature, so far as a 
regular nomenclature might at that time have existed. If, on the contrary, 
we suppose that Dr. Rush infers that Hippocrates knew, and considered 
but one muscle as having existence in the body; I reply, that had this great 
man been a very idiot, he must have appreciated the influence of muscular 
motion, and its varied actions, as dependant on a vast variety of these organs ! 
It is when speaking of the structure of the spine, that he mentions the 
Psoas muscle, as filling the interior and lower curvature of the dorsal 
column, and as being the only one there,- and this, I suspect, has been the 
source of the error into which Dr. Rush has fallen; without duly scrutini- 
zing the validity of his charge, by an accurate investigation of his author. 

If more is requisite to establish my position, I shall refer you to his 
essays " de Officina Medici," and " de Fracturis," Fees. 740, &c, as well 
as to nearly all his writings ; in which repeated reference is afforded to the 
action of different muscles, although not particularly specified by name.* 

5. But what shall we say of the sweeping condemnation of Hippocrates, 
contained in the concluding paragraph of Dr. Rush's assertion? viz. "that 
the account of the heart, the brain, the senses, the intestines, and organs of 
generation, is so replete with absurdity, that it would be disgusting to men- 
tion them !" It is possible that had Dr. Rush pointed to some specific in- 
stance, we might have received it as correct: but here is not a solitary 
redeeming clause to console us for such a complete prostration of the 
Divine Old Man! Let us, however, in endeavouring to redeem our own 
pledge, cursorily examine if the assertion is true in itself; and we shall 
pursue the arrangement of Dr. Rush. 

* Speaking of the natural situation of the parts, as essential to be considered in 
the locality, extension and flexion in fractures, &c. he adds, " When the leg, instead 
of remaining in its state of extension, changes its place, the muscles, the vessels, 
the nerves, the bones also change their position ; and if free, will assume that which 
is best." 

Again, "When we wish to produce flexion, the muscles, by contracting, will lose 
their position as well as the bone." " Many muscles, he tells us, cover the radius 
at its upper part." — 4i When the humerus is broken, if we make extension by hold- 
ing the hand and fore-arm, before we apply the bandage, it happens that by after- 
wards flexing the fore-arm, the muscles will change their situation." 

In fracture (?f the femur, he tells us, the force of the muscles, will separate the 
bone, as soon as extension is remitted ; and that the muscles, which are strong and 
active, will even surpass the power of bandages. 

In his treatise de articulis, when speaking of a luxation of the humerus, he 
says, that as to a luxation towards the anterior part; he had never seen it, nor did 
he believe it possible. Physicians, adds he, deceive themselves, in cases wherein 
the muscles surrounding the joint, and arm, have become wasted. In such cases, 
the head of the humerus appears to project on the anterior part. 



1. The Heart. And here I can truly say, I find nothing on the subject, in 
any part of the writings of Hippocrates, deserving of a censure so severe! 
In the treatise, expressly " de Corde," Fcesius, 268. there is, I think, much 
to admire; and, if we condemn what may not be satisfactory to us at pre- 
sent ; yet nothing will be found that is either disgusting, or that would 
seriously impair the memory of its great author. 

He considers with sufficient distinctness, its shape, its pericardial in- 
vestment, and the moisture therein; which he supposes to transude from 
the heart. Here, his theory maintains itself, by what may possibly be re- 
garded as absurd in the present day; but which is admirably constructed 
when viewed through a long retreating vista of twenty-two centuries. Thus, 
Hippocrates supposes the heart to draw the pericardial fluid adverted to, 
from the lungs; which last are presumed to receive it in the process of 
drinking, during which a portion passes down by the side of the Epiglottis, 
through the Trachea. This position seems to have been contested by the 
medical contemporaries of Hippocrates, if we may judge from his anxiety 
to maintain it. " A proof, says he, that a part passes this, is, that if you 
give water tinged with blue, or with minium to an animal (altere) thirsty; 
but especially to a hog, which is by no means nice or delicate; and if its 
throat be cut, and the Trachea is opened, we find it tinged with the colour 
of the drink;" but, adds he, all persons cannot perform this experiment. 

He says, the heart is a very strong muscle, as well from its tendons 
(vetz/j*) as from the mass of fleshy fibres. It has two ventricles (yns-(ficts) 
not exactly alike; the right one having an opening at the base, correspond- 
ing to one of the large veins, (<fxeC/) and he well discriminates, that 
although called the right, it is nevertheless in the left side. It is not so 
strong as the left one, which is placed beneath the left breast, where its 
beating is distinctly felt. He supposes the heat of the heart (the presumed 
focus of heat) to be moderated by the natural coldness of the lungs; as 
well as by the air inspired ; and although this may now be set down as 
absurd ; do we, in fact, know much more about animal heat, than Hippo- 
crates did so long ago 1 And are not the various hypotheses in explanation 
thereof; now, quite as meagre and unsatisfactory as that of Hippocrates? 
His theory is, at least, quite as well sustained, as any of ours ! 

By cutting off the auricles and base of the heart, an opening in each 
ventricle is perceived ; these two ventricles are the sources of the life of 
man ! from whence flow those streams which water all the interior of the 
body, and convey life to every part. 

The auricles, he supposed, were intended by nature as bellows, to draw 
in air ; and in which he thinks he discovers the skill of a superior artist! 
in adding, as it were, such machinery for the conveyance of air, as is evi- 
dent from the perpetual motion of every part of the heart: the auricles 
having their own peculiar motion, by which they are enabled to expand, 
and contract, &c. He moreover notices the valves ,• and in conformity with 
the opinion of the day, explains their use in restraining the flow of blood 



into the left ventricle ; but permitting the passage of the air or animal 
spirits. (See also Fobs, de Carnibus, p. 250.) Upon the whole, however 
obscure and singular the doctrine of Hippocrates may now appear, as to the 
uses of the heart and its various parts ; let us recollect, that only about 
two centuries have elapsed, since Harvey is presumed to have rectified 
those ancient errors; which had scarcely been modified during a period of 
more than two thousand years ! 

With this kept in view, we may rather feel disposed to admire the saga- 
city of this venerable writer : and lean with toleration to the consideration 
of so luminous a superstructure as he had raised on an imperfect basis ! In 
all of which, nothing appears that is, in my estimation, capable of exciting 
the least disgust ! 

2. Of the Brain and Senses. — Whatever we may think of the anatomical 
knowledge of Hippocrates in respect to the brain ; I can only say, that it 
becomes no one, less conversant with the dissection of that organ than 
Gall or Spurzheim ; to cast the slightest objection on Hippocrates ! If we 
consider that those gentlemen have created a new sera, from which we may 
date an improved method of investigating and unfolding the brain ; and 
that, (apparently,) our present knowledge of it is as superior to that of 
only half a century past; as it then was, in comparison with the time of 
Hippocrates ; we shall probably come to the conclusion, that we have little 
right to draw invidious comparisons ; I may however state, that, with the 
energy of a great and inquiring mind, he observes, that whatever the brain 
(the domicile of the senses, which he terms the ministri cerebri,) knows, 
is conveyed thereto, by the eyes, the ears, the tongue, and the extremities ; 
which may be considered as forestalling the celebrated axiom, that " Nihil 
est in intellects quod non fuit prius in sensu." The brain, is according to 
him, the Internuncius of intelligence ; (de Morb. sacro, Fees. 309.) and he 
adds, that the septum transversum or diaphragm is improperly called <p ? «v«? 
by the Greeks, since the mind has nothing to do with that organ : " temere 
ac fortuito sortitum nomen videtur, et ex instituto, non re vera, neque a 
natura," &c. 

He mentions {de Morbo sacro, Foes. p. 304,) the brain as being double, 
" Cerebrum duplex in hominibus et omnibus animalibus ;" and elsewhere, 
(de Locis in Homine, Foes. p. 408,) that it has two membranes (ptuvyit) or 
coverings ; with much more, that would seem to imply at least, no incon- 
siderabfe knowledge of its structure and functions. In his treatise "de 
Glandulis," p. 270. he considers the brain as a gland ; nor does he want 
reasons in defence of his assertions. 

So far as his metaphysics enable us to appreciate his knowledge of the 
senses, &c. it was apparently, conformable to the philosophy of the age ; 
nor is it more visionary or absurd than most of the views that have been 
promulgated up to the present time, that have not had a foundation on the 
firm basis of Phrenology ! A science, it is true, comparatively in its infancy ; 
but which displays the vigour of Hercules ! and which must, in spite of 


opposition, sooner or later, be the principal pillar of support, and the key- 
stone, to every rational investigation of the mind and its functions ! 

3. Of the Intestines. It would appear, by reference to different parts of 
the writings of Hippocrates and his commentators, as if, (at least by many,) 
an opinion was entertained, of there being but one intestine; which had the 
general name of colon, (de Corporis Besectione, Fees. 916.) Some obscurity 
unquestionably exists ; for in other parts, a distinction is made ; and the 
duodenum is spoken of, if not by name, yet sufficiently described as being 
about 12 fingers-breadth in length ; smaller than, but resembling the sto- 
mach. The rectum also seems noticed, in " de Nat. Hominis," p. 229; 
and, in "de Carnibus," p. 249 and 252, the jejunum, under the name of 
vhJvoc ; and in various parts he mentions their diseases, and modes of cure. 
This word vyiJuos is the same formerly mentioned, as implying "Venter, vel 
receptaculum cibi, et apud Hippocratem, omnem cavitatem atque concepta- 
culum quo humor alendis partibus idoneus continetur. Item uterus, ut et 
Lat. alvus pro utero sumitur. N»dW, to, intestina, &c. (Vide Lexicon 
Grseco-Lat. 1583, p. 7G5.) Hira, Intestinum quod jejunum dicitur, quod 
semper vacuum sit," &c. In the treatise, " de Glandulis,''' 1 (Fobs. 271,) 
Hippocrates mentions the glands connected with the intestines. 

It may be a question of curiosity, though probably of no use, when, and 
by whom, the intestinal tube received its present subdivisions! Nature 
seems to present a very decided distinction into two parts ; the large and 
the small : but the subdivisions of each of these, into three distinct por- 
tions, appear rather the result of fancy, than of any well-grounded line of 
demarcation. Be this, however, a3 it may, all that I am at present interested 
in, is to show, that, even admitting what Hippocrates has said on the sub- 
ject of the intestines to be ridiculous and absurd ; it is at least in confor- 
mity to the opinions of the day ; and has nothing disgusting, beyond what 
the nature of the case itself renders otherwise impossible to avoid ; and 
certainly, this cannot be deemed legitimately liable to the animadversions 
thrown out by Dr. Rush. 

4. Of the Organs of Generation. I shall readily admit, that the considera- 
tion of the subject of the organs of generation, may be, or not, according to 
circumstances, one of infinite interest, or of the highest indelicacy and dis- 
gust. Certainly, to the medical man, every part of the body is replete with 
wonder, and demands his strict attention to its structure and its functions, 
if he expects to be useful in a morbid deviation. Perhaps, none more so, 
than the organs under consideration ! And if contemplated with the. eye of 
philosophy, physiology, and pathology, as they ought to be, (at all events 
by medical men ;) nothing more interesting can command our inquiries ; 
whilst on the contrary, nothing can be more disgusting, when solely re- 
garded with the eye of licentiousness and lust. As assuredly, this was not 
the view in which Hippocrates regarded these important appendages for 
the continuance of the human race ; but with the strictest eye to medical 
utility ; if even his views may be considered as absurd; yet certainly there 


is nothing disgusting about them, at least so far as I have been able to dis- 
cover ! Nor can I believe, that in this respect, the most fastidious would 
find cause for complaint! More especially when it is recollected, that the 
theory of generation which Hippocrates advanced, even at the distant 
period of twenty-two centuries; this same theory, I say, with little modifi- 
cation, may be considered as dividing the opinions of medical men, be- 
tween itself, and the doctrines of sympathy, which, in my estimation, is at 
least, the more absurd ! That some of Hippocrates' speculations, may, in 
the present age, excite a smile, I will readily allow; and I will even admit, 
that he has made the uterus too important a personage in the female sys- 
tem ! What then ; are our present views on all these points less obscure 
than his ; or less deserving of a smile ! Are not the countless abortions that 
have dropt from the press within the last twenty or thirty years, on every 
topic of medical, physiological, or pathological inquiry, sufficient to prove 
the absurdity of the opinions which we refuse to tolerate. And shall a man 
who wrote four hundred years before the birth of Christ, be judged as harshly 
now as he, who, without the tithe, of his merits, has nevertheless possessed 
ten thousand times his advantages in medical research ! The truth is, the 
views of Hippocrates, even if absurd ; are those of a great, a vigorous, and 
a master mind ; unaided by any very extensive means of previous inqui- 
rers ; yet unshackled by the past, or contemporary authority ! and perhaps 
not sufficiently restrained in its luxuriance, from a defect of many facts 
familiar to the present generation ; and which, if living, he could far better 
illustrate and connect together ! 

With such impressions on my mind, can you wonder, gentlemen, that I 
have attempted to shield from obloquy, the memory of this illustrious 
member of our profession ; or that I should regret, that my respected pre- 
ceptor should not rather, in addition to his actual commendations, have 
recalled to mind that beautiful remark, "non offendar paucis maculis," 
and have kindly cast a veil over those imperfections which he supposed 
he had detected in the most ancient and the most venerable of our medical 
authorities ! 



Preface, page xv. 1. 16, for demonstare, read demonstrare. 
x. 19, for were read was. 

34. 28, for cordisopinionem, read cordis opinionem. 

35. last line, for <b ue, read aque. 

126. note, edition of the College, stated as of 1776. — It should be 

208. line 32, for attrahunt read attrahant. 



Preface to the work. - ix 

Remarks on the universality of the 
award, &c. ix 

Circumstances leading to the under- 
taking. ... x 

Injustice of the award, analogous to 
that by which Godfrey has been 
deprived of his rights to the dis- 
covery of the Quadrant. - xi 

Necessity of copious reference, and 
that in the original, rather than 
by translation. - xi 

Neglect of Latin, the great cause of 
injustice to the ancient writers, 
and of gross frauds and plagiarism 
upon them. - - - xii 

Editions of Harvey chiefly referred 
to. - - - xii 

Period between his public promulga- 
tion, orally and by printing. - xii 

Grounds of opposition to his claims, xiii 

He claims the full and undivided 
discovery. - - xiii 

Investigation of his claims hitherto 
imperfect in many respects, and 
why. ... xiii 

Immense variation in the different 
editions of his work. - xiii 

Strictures on his opponents, by his 
advocates, chiefly copied from each 
other. - - - - xiv 

Conjectures of the College in their 
edition of Harvey of 1766, as to 
the causes that led to his inqui- 
ries, - - xv 

Error even here, as respects their 
reference to Boyle. - - xv 

Biography of Harvey. - xvii 

Dr. Friend's remarks on the disco- 
very of the circulafion by Har- 
vey, to whom he ascribes the sole 
honour. - xxl 

Opposes the claims of Nemesius, 
Columbus, Caesalpinus, and others, xxi 

Admits that the views of Columbus 
were defective only as regarded 
the intercommunication of arteries 
and veins. - - xxiii 

Which is in fact the principal argu- 
ment, as to Harvey himself. - xxiii 

Opposition to his doctrines noticed 
by Friend. - - xxiv 

Advantages and improvements de- 
duced from the discovery of the 
circulation by Friend. - xxiv 

Ligatures in amputation ascribed to 
Parey, who admits that he took 
the hint from Galen ; and Friend 
himself acknowledges that they 
were employed prior to the disco- 
very of the circulation. - xxv 

Friend affirms that the ancient rules 
for bleeding were confounded and 
superseded by the discovery of 
Harvey. — Unfounded, as proved 
elsewhere. ... xxv 

English Ed. of Harvey's treatise by 
Dr. Wood is faulty and imperfect 
in many particulars, and noticed 
as a warning in this Inquiry, to 
those who depend on translations. 27 

Dedication of Harvey to King 
Charles, wherein he refers to his 
new discoveries; but what they 
are have never been particularly 
pointed out. 27 

Harvey's dedication to the College 
of Physicians, affirming his disco- 
very, and declaring his book to 
have been perfect some years be- 
fore. ... 27 

His full and unqualified assumption 
of the claim for himself alone. 29 

His unsatisfactory reasons to the 
college for not himself supporting 
his claims against the adversaries 
of his views, &c. - 29 

Avowal that he never read, nor in- 
tended to read, the works of his 



opponents; who are stigmatized 
by him with the most opprobrious 
epithets. - - - 30 

Names no one of his antagonists, 
whom he thus abuses : conjecture 
only therefore can point them 
out. ... 30 

Remarks on this extraordinary con- 
duct. .... 31 

An equal neglect of his contempora- 
ries and predecessors. - 32 

Preface of Dr. Wood to his English 
edition, partially reviewed. - 33 

A reference by him to Plempius, 
considered ; and his Fundamenta 
Medicinal quoted, &c. - 34 

Harvey's remarks as to the swell- 
ing of the veins below a bandage 
in vensesection correctly ascribed 
by Plempius to Ccesalpinus. - 35 

Plempius maintains an anastomosis 
of arteries and veins, and quotes 
Galen in reference thereto. - 35 

Maintains with Harvey the porous 
infiltration of the blood into the 
flesh, &c. by the arteries, and its 
subsequent reception by the veins : 
but how, is unexplained. - 3G 

Neither of these doctrines, after two 
hundred years, have been univer- 
sally admitted. - - 36 

The real character of the communi- 
cation is yet a mystery, the doc- 
trine of a circulation therefore, is 
no more proved, beyond circum- 
stantial evidence, than in the days 
of Galen. - - 36 

Discovery of the venous valves as- 
cribed to Aquapcndentc, the pre- 
ceptor of Harvey. - - 37 

Venous nutrition, one of the points 
on which the ancients have been 
denied to have a knowledge of the 
circulation; yet both Harvey and 
Plempius teach the same. 37 

Notice of a correspondence between 
Plempius and Descartes, relative 
to the heart and the circulation. 38 

Galen's universally quoted Experi- 
ment of a pipe inserted into an ar- 
tery, as explanatory of the pulse. 38 

Dr. Primrose, one of the earliest and 
most uniform opponents of Harvey, 
also writes against Plempius, and 
is answered most scurrilously by 
Blasius and F. Plempius. 39 

Those writers are quoted, in favour 
of Harvey and the circulation: 
of Plempius ; his contemptuous 

treatment of Primrose apparent- 
ly unjust --. 40 

Attempt to reconcile some conflict- 
ing notions on the subject of an- 
astomosis; some considering it 
as occurring between the large 
branches of the two kinds of ves- 
sels ; and fainting from venesection 
explained by it. - - 40 

Primrose opposes Plempius' reasons 
for the non-pulsation of veins. 41 

Entrance of blood into veins by 
transudation into the substance 
of parts. - - 41 

Veins, ancient meaning of; a mere 
canal or channel of communica- 
tion ; distinguished from arteries, 
by the respective addition of pul- 
sating, and non-pulsating. 42 

When Hippocrates speaks of venous 
nutrition, he probably means to 
refer it to the pulsating vein or 
artery. ... 42 

A free inquiry into the full character 
and claim of Harvey to the disco- 
very of the circulation was proba- 
bly precluded, by the illiberal sys- 
tem of his adherents. - 42 

Comparatively few at that period 
have published on the subject, or 
cleared away the difficulties that 
had arisen. ... 43 

The Harveians, being most in num- 
ber, and using more contumely 
than their opponents, have carri- 
ed the day ; and tradition has 
brought it down, as an heir loom, 
to the profession. - 43 

Refrigeration of the blood, how re- 
garded, and explained by the an- 
cients; Harvey's notion more ridi- 
culous. 43 

Apparent adoption of Harvey, when 
two doctrines are noticed by 
Galen; of that which he inclines 
to reject, as in the instance of an- 
astomosis and porosities, and in 
the refrigeration of the blood. 43 

Anastomosis nevertheless, although 
repelled by Harvey, is occasion- 
ally advocated by him "only to 
further his purpose." - 44 

Malevolent feelings towards Prim- 
rose, evidenced by paltry criti- 
cisms on his Latin. - 44 

Galen's long control over the desti- 
nies of medicine was not unde- 
served. The shackles of Harvcian 
despotism, have succeeded, with 


a merit, by no means to be com- 
pared to that of Galen. . 45 

Galen, now a dead letter in the pro- 
fession, and what has supplied his 
place ? 45 

Procmium of Harvey considered. 45 

The apparent irregularity in this in- 
quiry explained, and the difficulty 
of the investigation noticed. 45 

Admirable intentions with which 
Harvey sets out, are very imper- 
fectly, or not at all realized. - 46 

His affirmation of Galen's opinion 
as to the use of the pulse and re- 
spiration, by no means adequate 
to convey the views of that great 
man. ... 46 

Harvey's general reference to the 
great body of the profession, but 
without a specific notification; 
with two or three exceptions of a 
limited nature. - 46 

Aquapendente's book on respira- 
tion, referred to by Harvey, as 
being newly set out, whereas, in 
fact, it must have then been nearly 
thirteen years old. - - 47 

Yet even of* it, he has scarcely taken 
notice, although the discovery of 
the venous valves is therein as- 
serted. ... 47 

Aquapendente, Harvey's master ; 
and by him, apparently, highly 
esteemed, and spoken of' in gene- 
ral terms ; yet little, if any credit, 
is actually bestowed on him ; es- 
pecially as connected with the 
circulation, a conduct difficult to 
reconcile. - 47 

Difficult to find some of Harvey's 
references, of a general nature. 48 

Some idea of Galen's extended 
view of the importance of respi- 
ration. - ^° 

Harvey asserts that Galen wrote, 
and proved that blood only was 
contained in the arteries ; quotes 
his experiment thereon, wherein 
he coincides. Yet he denounces 
Galen in various parts as main- 
taining that air or spirits were 
also contained therein ; a doctrine 
he, himself, most forciby main- 
tains in many parts of his writings. 48 

Experiment of Galen quoted by 
Harvey, of introducing a pipe 
into an artery, which deeply in- 
volves Harvey in an unjustifiable 
contradiction ; and an attempt to 

throw suspicion on the accuracy 

of Galen. 49 

Not one of Harvey's grounds in sup- 
port of his assumed discovery, is 
individually tenable as his own. 51 

Blames the ancients for supposing 
blood and spirits to pass by the 
aorta, &c. he yet falls into a worse 
mistake himself as to the chyle 
and blood, &c. - 51 

Denies porosities in the septum 
cordis, as incapable of demonstra- 
tion; yet sustains the passage of 
blood from arteries to veins, 
through the pores of parts, which 
neither himself nor others have 
ever demonstrated. - - 52 

Although denying absolutely the 
anastomoses of vessels, he yet oc- 
casionally employs them, to fur- 
ther his purpose. - - 53 

Chapter 1st. of Harvey's treatise 
considered. ... 54 

What led him to write. The mo- 
tion of the heart ; ideas of Fracas- 
torius on ; and of others assimilat- 
ing the flow of blood to the ebbing 
and flowing of Euripus. - 54 

References to this singular channel, 
&c. (note) - ; 54 

Laurentius, his controversies ana- 
tomical. - . - 54 

Harvey thinks he at length had 
succeeded. - - 55 

What was said of his opinions, &c. 55 

Why he printed them, that all might 
judge him freely. - - 55 

But how has this been verified ! 55 

Riolan, the only person whom he 
himself replies to. Probable rea- 
sons for his contemptuous neglect 
of all other writers. - - 55 

Harvey's 2d and 3d Chapters, of the 
motion of the heart in the dissec- 
tion of living creatures, and of the 
arteries. - - 56 

His views of the systole and dias- 
tole of the heart. - - 56 

Heart, inactive in drawing blood into 
the ventricles ; questionable, and 
why. - - - 57 

An independent power of motion 
in the blood itself, admitted by 
Harvey, yet he makes no use of it. 58 

Concludes that the heart impels the 
blood into the arteries, and that 
on it the pulse depends, as Galen 
taught long before him. - 58 

Aristotle speaks of the blood beating 


within the veins, by which, Har- 
vey says, was meant arteries. 58 

Remarks on tins, and on Dr. Rush's 
attack on Hippocrates for his 
affirmed ignorance of the distinc- 
tion of arteries and veins. 59 

Introductory lecture in opposition to 
Dr. Rush's misapprehensions. 59 

Harvey's 4th Chapter, considers the 
motion of the heart in living crea- 
tures. 59 

Differs in opinion from Bauhin and 
Riolan, as to the nature of that 
motion. ... 60 

Some reasons for acceding to their 
views, in preference to Harvey's. 60 

Right auricle, the ultimum moriens 
noticed by Galen. 60 

Harvey says the blood is the last to 
stop its motion. - - 60 

A most important and interesting 
fact, and not entirely imknown to 
Aristotle, who speaks of the pri- 
mary motion of the first formed 
blood in the egg. - - 61 

Aristotle and others considered the 
blood as void of sensibility, and 
doubts its being a part of the 
animal. ... 61 

Harvey's ideas of the heart as the 
organ of sanguification. - 61 

Chooses it, apparently in opposition 
to Galen, who fixed this function 
in the liver. - - 62 

Harvey employed the microscope 
in his pursuits. - - 62 

Its influence small upon him, as he 
is uniformly in the dark as to the 
nature of the intercommunication 
of arteries and veins. - 62 

Hippocrates advocates an anastomo- 
ses of vessels, so does Galen. 63 

Harvey's 5th Chapter is on the ac- 
tion and office of the heart. 63 

Some inconsistencies noticed. - 63 

His admission as to what all grant, 
from the heart and portals. 63 

Attempts to show that Galen rejected 
the opinion of the pulmonary pas- 
sage of the blood, and which he 
adopts as his own. - 64 

Yet but a few pages before he shows 
Galen in a different view, and 
has probably misconceived him 
altogether, although he speaks of 
his contradictions, and which may 
require to be examined. 65 

Harvey appears to admit of no com- 
petitor in his claim. - - 66 

If Galen was really ignorant of the 
pulmonary circulation, yet Harvey 
cannot claim its discovery, for it 
was known and explained by Ser- 
vetus, Cffisalpinus and others, 
whose claims are noticed in the 
appendix. - - 66 

Some detail as to the opinion of 
writers both before, contemporary 
with, and posterior to Harvey, on 
the subject of vascular intercom- 
munication, i. e. respecting an- 
astomoses and pores - - 67 

His absurd explanation as to how 
the blood passes through the pores 
of the parts. - 67 

AlbcrtVs authority on the subject, 
in 1718, a century later than 
Harvey, shows that it was equally 
unsettled and unproved, as in his 
days. ... 68 

Zyphmus, his views, 1683, equally 
incomplete. - - 72 

A Circulation at all times accredit- 
ed ; but the route, if imperfect, 
was not settled by Harvey ; who 
is no more, therefore, the disco- 
verer than his predecessors. 73 

No explanation how the blood, 
thrown out from the arteries, is 
able to scramble into the veins; 
this first step is yet to be proved. 73 

Galen's doctrine of anastomoses pre- 
ferable to porosities. - - 74 

Some of the lower orders of animals 
have a kind of intestine flux and 
reflux of the blood, as the charac- 
ter of circulation ; but the porosi- 
ties throw the blood out of vascu- 
lar control. - . 74 

Craanen, his views of pores, and his 
objections, &c. - - 75 

Pores only visible to the eye of faith. 75 

Bartholine's ideas. - - 76 

Craanen's inquiry of Swammerdam 
on the subject ; his reply, is entire- 
ly opposed to pores. - 77 

Keyper, his ideas. - 78 

Ruysch's opinion, in reply to Grtetz's 
ideas. ... 78 

Diemerbroeck' 's views on the sub- 
ject. .... 79 

He considers the blood as not being 
a part of the body. - 79 

Seems to advocate both anastomoses 
and porosities, and explains the 
mode of entrance of the blood into 
the veins, by suction. 80 

Makes the heart the source of heat 



like Harvey, and reasons on it as 
ridiculously. - - . 80 

And as the organ of hcematosis, as 
taught by Hippocrates ; but denied 
by Galen, and reinstated by Har- 
vey. ... 80 

Whether it be not partly true that 
the liver is an important organ 
in this process. - - 81 

Harvey's physiology not improved 
by his affirmed discovery. 81 

The blood probably an organized 
and living mass, possessing func- 
tions sui generis, of which one 
may be that of assimilating the 
chyle into bleod. - - 82 

Glisson's ideas on this point. 82 

Nutrition, ascribed by the ancients 
to the veins; this error still main- 
tained by many, and even by Har- 
vey himself. - - 83 

Diemerbroeck's absurd views as to 
the function of respiration, and in 
explaining syncope. - - 83 

Fever, its locality not developed by 
the discovery of the circulation ; 
probably the blood itself is such ; 
as it alone is universal : has never 
been found wanting in the body. 84 

Vidus Viduus quoted, and highly 
estimated ; his views as to the 
connection of vessels. - 85 

Pitcairn quoted ; affirms the imper- 
fection of Harvey's writings. 87 

But little improvement in practice, 
arising from the Harveian dis- 
covery. ... 88 

The high value ascribed to the dis- 
covery, greatly overrated. 89 

Like the meteorological tables, col- 
lected from time immemorial, but 
as yet, affording no accurate de- 
duction. - - - 89 

The interesting character of the cir- 
culation is more apparent in its 
connection with various impor- 
tant functions, as respiration, &c. 90 

Practical experience of blood-letting, 
without a knowledge of the cir- 
culation, evidenced in De Villa 
Nova, three hundred years before 
Harvey's birth. - - 91 

In a treatise of his, it would seem, 
that Harvey's favourite doctrine 
of porosities had long been preva- 
lent, and that it was reprobated 
by Aristotle and Galen. 91 

Villa Nova bled, when the blood was 
black, to restore its florid hue ; so 

did Dr. Chapman in cholera, in 
1832, loth, depending on expe- 
rience, without any reference to 
the route of the blood. - 91 

Harvey has usually, when two 
opinions existed, adopted that 
which was opposed by Galen. 91 

Analogy in the conduct of Mr. Cal- 
houn in the U. S. Bank debate. 92 

Hercules Saxonia's preface to his 
treatise De Plica, recommended. 93 

Evidences of Pitcairn's favourable 
opinion of Harvey's discovery, and 
vindication of his claim against 
Hippocrates. - - 93 

Great stress laid by him on the idea 
of the perpetual circuit of the 
blood, as distinct from those for- 
mer opinions, by which some 
kind of motion was attributed to 
it, by all physicians. - 95 

In proving the circulation, as taught 
by Harvey, to have differed from 
that of Hippocrates, he yet cor- 
roborates his knowledge of its 
character and existence of some 
kind. ... 96 

Pitcairn probably wrong in sup- 
posing Hippocrates to believe 
the blood's motion to be a mere 
flux and reflux in the same 
vessels. - - - 97 

Errors in translators exemplified in 
a French edition of the works of 
Hippocrates. - - 97 

Insulated parts of Hippocrates, that 
are scarcely reconcileable as the 
result of his sagacity, unless by 
admitting a very enlarged view of 
a circulation. - - 98 

Neither anastomosis of vessels nor 
porosities absolutely established. 98 

Harvey's ideas of the pulmonary 
circulation. - 98 

Galen vindicated against the objec- 
tions of Vesalius to him as an 
anatomist. - - 98 

Vesalius himself strongly exception- 
able as a witness. - - 99 

Censured by Piccolhomini, Cams, 
Columbus, Eustachius and others. 99 

The surgical skill of Galen incom- 
patible with the mere compara- 
tive anatomy of brutes. 101 

Two cases of similar character, and 
the only ones recorded of the kind, 
detailed, the one by Galen, the 
other by Harvey. - 101 

Difference of them favourable to 



Galen : Harvey has not referred to 
his predecessor's case. - 102 

Outline of Galen's 7th book de 
Anatom. Administ. wherein a 
pulmonary circuit is assuredly 
maintained. - - - 102 

Richerand's case of excision of the 
ribs by no means to be compared 
to that of Galen ; case detailed. 103 

Harvey's case detailed. - - 104 

In both, the heart was denuded. 104 

Single character of heart in fish, &.c. 105 

Erroneous translation of Harvey by 
Dr. Wood, exemplified in several 
instances, and deductions there- 
from as to necessity of reference 
always to the original. - 106 

Questionable whether any one in 
the present day, with the facts, 
&c., as presented by Harvey, 
would vote in favour of his full 
and undivided claim. - - 107 

Established by tradition, and re- 
ceived by us as we receive the 
dogmas of our faith, without ex- 
amination or reflection. 107 

Other remarkable errors pointed out 
in Wood's translation of Harvey. 107 

Ambiguity, probably, in his explana- 
tion of embryos. - - 108 

Double heart of foetus, acts but as a 
single one, &c. - - 110 

His attempt to prove, what Galen 
had long before rendered evident, 
that the blood may pass from the 
right to the left side of the heart ; 
and that it does so pass through 
the pores of the lungs, according 
to Harvey. - - 111 

His unapt similitude of it, to the 
passage of water through the 
substance of the earth, &c. Ill 

That the blood does somehow pass 
from the right to the left side of 
the heart ; but how, is a question 
yet unresolved. - 112 

Harvey, although opposed to anas- 
tomoses, yet sometimes employs 
them to " further his own pur- 
poses." - - - 112 

The attempt to fasten on Galen, the 
passage of the blood by the pores 
of the septum cordis, itself esta- 
blishes his claim to a knowledge 
or belief in a circulation, even if 
the route is incorrect. - 113 

But Harvey admits unequivocally 
that Galen advocated the pulmo- 
nary route, and quotes his words. 114 

Variation in the stops, omission of 
words, or exchange of one for an- 
other, in different editions, modify 
the meaning of an author. 114 

What edition of Galen used by 
Harvey we are not told. - 114 

Galen's ideas as to the use, he. of 
the valves of the heart referred to 
by Harvey. - - 115 

A three-fold inconvenience would 
have followed their non-existence. 115 

Evidence from one of them that 
Galen never accredited the mere 
flux and reflux of blood in the 
same vessel, as constituting the 
circulation. - - - 115 

Harvey's explicit declaration of 
Galen accrediting the passage of 
the blood through the lungs, from 
the vena arteriosa, to the arteria 
venosa. - - - 116 

Why Harvey advances any of the 
views of Galen : probably compul- 
sory ; refers to Hoffmann's com- 
mentary on Galen, which, he says, 
he saw after he had written ! yet 
Hoffmann's book was printed in 
1625, or three years prior to 
Harvey's! - - - 117 

Other prior rights of Galen. 117 

Another error of Harvey's trans- 
lator. - - - 118 

Harvey reprimands Galen for speak- 
ing of spirits in the blood, yet 
advocates the same himself, in 
various parts of his writings. 118 

Partial, imperfect, and negative ad- 
mission of a few of his predeces- 
sors, on the authority of Galen and 
Columbus. - . 118 

Advises his readers of things to be 
stated by him, so new and un- 
heard of, that he apprehended 
mischief to himself and the enmity 
of mankind, from their promulga- 
tion. — What they are we cannot 
discover. - - - 119 

Influence of custom and doctrine, 
well laid down by Harvey ; strongly 
impressing the Editor, in this his 
opposition to the long awarded 
claim of Harvey. - - 119 

What the new and unheard of things 
of Harvey are, have never yet been 
pointed out. - - - 120 

His extraordinary improvement in 
the doctrine of nutrition, beyond 
the ancients, depending on his 
nllegcd discovery ! - 121 



Without a knowledge of the Har- 
veian doctrine, his predecessors 
nevertheless were fully masters of 
the precepts, &c. of blood-letting-. 1 21 
Harvey regards the heart as the 
grand organ of hsmatosis, a 
doctrine exclusively mechanical ; 
scarcely less, if not more objec- 
tionable than that of the hepatic 
origin. - 122 

His unhappy explanation of terms, 
as of the veins ; and erroneous 
adscription thereof to Galen. - 123 

Galen's definition of artery and 
vein. - - - 124 

Harvey's slight claim to any im- 
provement in physiology. - 124 

The three suppositions of Harvey, 
on the confirmation of which he 
builds his assertion of a circula- 
tion. ... 125 

Precision not always his forte, al- 
though taking Galen to task for 
its neglect. ... 125 

His estimate of the amount of blood 
thrown out at each contraction. 126 

Errors or differences in the Frank- 
fort Edit, of 1628, and that of the 
College of 1766, not less than four 
hundred in number. - 126 

His second proposition, in direct 
contradiction to himself else- 
where. - - - 127 

Of what kind of violence or mis- 
chief, could he possibly be appre- 
hensive, from the promulgation of 
his doctrines ? - - 127 

Speaks as if he alone was the only 
one who had noticed the in- 
fluence of the non-naturals on the 
pulse. - - 128 

Evidence to the contrary, from 
Aquapendente and Villa Nova. 128 

A fact of Galen, noticed by Harvey, 
that if even the smallest artery 
be cut, all the blood will drain 
from the vessels, both arterial and 
venous. - - - 128 

First notice by him of the venous 
valves, which are attributed to 
Aquapendente, or Sylvius. 128 

But Harvey affirms they knew not 
their use. - - - 129 

His adscription of the discovery of 
their use to himself, proved to be 
unfounded, and the credit given 
to Piccolhomini. - - 129 et seq. 

Piccolhomini, professor of anatomy 

at Rome, unnoticed by any of the 
writers on the circulation; yet he 
wrote and printed his Prelect. 
Anatom. when Harvey was but 
eight years old. 

Circumstantial evidence that Harvey 
could not be unacquainted with 
his writings, and must have de- 
rived his ideas from him. 

His vivid statement of his discovery 
of the valves, compared with the 
phlegmatic account of Harvey. 

The emptying of both arteries and 
veins, by a wound of an artery, is 
admitted by Harvey as known to 
Galen. - 

Harvey ridicules Galen for maintain- 
ing the existence of spirits in the 
blood, yet in numerous instances 
he maintains the same. - 

He says, No man had hitherto said 
any thing right as to anasto- 
moses, a subject he was then in- 

Extract from his life, by the College 
of physicians, evincing how un- 
settled he was in his opinions, &c. 
as to the union of arteries and 

And yet the discovery of the cir- 
culation is ascribed to him, when 
even now, it is not fully known. 

Anastomoses, by some considered 
as between the large branches of 
veins and arteries ; by Harvey, as 
obliquely, like the ureters into the 
bladder. ... 

De Back affirms that Harvey, in ap- 
parently advocating anastomoses 
at times; did so, only to further 
his own purpose. 

Descartes, the celebrated philosopher, 
how he happens to be in any way 
introduced in the inquiry into the 

His correspondence with Plempius. 

Proofs advanced by Harvey as to 
the circulation. 

Admits both anastomosis and porous 

His inconsistency herein ; and his 
explanation of fainting, on tying 
up the arm in bleeding. - 

These, the unfortunate horns of a di- 
lemma, from which Harvey could 
never extricate himself. - 

Harvey here talks of the pulse of 
the arteries, which lie before had 


















attributed only to the heart, and 
which was Galen's opinion. - 

Harvey lays great stress on his idea 
of a circular motion in the flow of 
the blood, whence the term of cir- 
culation. Which is probably not 
critically correct, yet seems abso- 
lutely the only new and unheard 
of thing in his book. 

Surmise as to his apprehension of 
mischief to himself. - 

Examination of the uses ascribed by 
him to the valves, apparently very 
defective, and less expanded than 
those of Piccolhomini. 

Rude conception of their import- 
ance in the system; and altoge- 
ther gratuitous. 

Harvey's claims never yet suffi- 
ciently analyzed. - 

No ceremony requisite to re-open the 
inquiry ; for none requires more 
uncompromising scrutiny and 

Why better accomplished in Europe, 
from the deficiency of the early 
publications for reference on the 
subject, in America. 

Renewal of the subject of pores. 

His paradoxical explanation pointed 

He subjects himself even to the idea 
of a flux and reflux, as the tides 

Harvey explains his idea of porosi- 
ties in his essay to Riolan. 

Probable result of blood passing 
from the arteries into the pores 
or parenchyma. - 

Wherein has he demonstrated the 
true route of circulation ? 

Some luminous exemplifications of 
physiology, unfolded by his disco- 
very ! 

The heart considered by him as the 
place and beginning of heat and 
of life. 

He had already shown the blood to 
be prior in formation even to the 
heart, and that idea is ascribed to 

Absurd views presented by him on 
the subject. - 

If now proposing his claims to the 
college, how would they be re- 
ceived ? - 

His physiology might have been 
benefited from Galen. 

Did Harvey possess any correct views 


















on the most important functions, 
of respiration, animal heat, &c. 

Harvey, a warm friend of Humoral- 
ism, yet it is replete with much ab- 
surdity. - 

Harvey scarcely to be esteemed 
the founder of a new and im- 
proved doctrine, in any branch of 
Medical Science. 

Advocates the endermic application 
of remedies, and supposes the veins 
draw in what is thus outwardly 
applied. - 

Two opposing currents of the chyle 
upwards, and of the blood down- 
wards, in the same vessel, advo- 
cated by Harvey. 

More absurd than the asserted tides 
of Euripus, &.c. - 

Further absurdities. 

Harvey apparently unacquainted 
with the mode of entrance of the 
chyle to the blood. 

He justly appreciates the high im- 
portance of the blood. 

Ascribes life and motion to it, be- 
fore any other part was perfected. 159 

Condensed view of his expectations, 
as to the influence of the circula- 
tion. - - - - 

The world has probably lost no- 
thing by his omission to write on 
the subject. 

Every medical man should answer, 
on his professional integrity, 
what we really owe to him, and 
what new and unheard of things 
he has set forth. 

And thus determine the real pro- 
portion of his claim. 

And the degree of perfection of his 
anatomy and other writings. - 

His 17th and last chapter considered, 
as further confirming the circula- 
tion, &c. - 

Advocates the doctrine of genera- 
tion from putrefaction ! 

And of oysters, &c. having no heart ; 
his singular explanation of nutri- 
tion in them. 

Queries, as to what he has actually 
done to improve Medical Science ? 162 

Query to every reader, to answer if 
he has ever read Harvey's trea- 
tise? - - - - 

The necessity of so doing, and also 
those of his advocates and oppo- 
nents, before he is fitted to deter- 
mine the validity of his claims. 





















His elucidations, if now first pre- 
sented, would not be admitted. 162 

Further evidence of Harvey using 
microscopes. - - 163 

Of little import in his hands. - 163 

Not to be compared to Galen. 163 

Certain animals described as exsan- 
guineous, erroneously. - 163 

Further evidence of incorrect views 
of nutrition in animals. - 164 

And that he did not comprehend the 
intention of the lungs. - 164 

Our homage to him is like that 
of the votaries of the Grand La- 
ma. - - - 164 

Nourishment of the lungs ascribed 
to the right side of the heart, as 
Aristotle had done. - 164 

Unacquainted with the bronchial 
artery. - - - 164 

Blood, the primum vivens, &c. due 
to Aristotle, if true. - 165 

The right auricle considered by him 
as the first thing that lives and 
last that dies. - - 165 

Contradiction by him in this respect 
pointed out. - - 165 

Permanent conclusions not to be de- 
duced from his writings. - 165 

His ideas of the difference of the 
veins and arteries. - 165 

Termination of the remarks on his 
Essay on the Circulation. 166 

Extracts from his Treatise on Gene- 
ration. - - - 167 

Accredits the statement of the Bor- 
nese females having tails to con- 
ceal the pudenda. - - 167 

Of the first living or formed part, 
that it is the blood. - 167 

Maintains the life of the blood, and 
that it is the first part that lives 
and last to die. - - 168 

Denies the liver to be necessary to 
the formation of the blood. 168 

His strong estimation of the blood. 168 

Yet not superior to Aristotle. 168 

Harvey's claim as the sole discoverer 
of the circulation, distinctly avow- 
ed by himself. - - 169 

The blood not possessed of any feel- 
ing, asserted by Harvey, but due 
to Aristotle. - - 169 

Harvey's case illustrating the insen- 
sibility of the heart. - 169 

No notice by him of a case of the 
same nature by Galen. - 170 

Harvey considers the blood mate- 
rialiter ct formalitcr. - - 170 

His views of foetal nutrition accord 
with Hippocrates. - 170 

His proofs of its taking its nutri- 
ment by suction. - - 170 

His notice of the opinions of Aqua- 
pendente respecting the egg ; he 
adverts to the blood formed in it 
during incubation, and deduces 
from it that the liver has nothing 
to do in its formation. - 171 

Of the blood, in and out of the veins. 171 

His enthusiastic eulogy of the blood. 172 

The blood alone, of all parts of the 
body, has never been found want- 
ing. - - - 172 

Remark of Harvey on the import- 
ance of names. - . 172 

A story from Mizaldus of a wonder- 
ful stone, to which he assimilates 
the wonders of the blood. 172 

Concluding remarks, and queries as 
to Harvey's claim. - - 173 

What has he discovered that was 
previously unknown? - 173 

Not one particular that is exclu- 
sively his. - - 173 et seq. 

His vacillating conduct as to the 
vascular communication. 175 

Extract in proof from the College. 176" 

His demands taken upon trust, and 
without due examination. 176 

Termination of the Inquiry. 177 

Appendix, - - - 178 

References to authors on the Circu- 
lation, from the Biography of the 
Diction aire des Sciences Medi- 
cales, &c. - - - 178 

Anatomistes. - - 178 

Cannani, Servetus, Caesalpinus, 
Aselli, and others. - 178 

Harvey, additions respecting him, 
and his writings, &c. - 179 

In which the claims of Father Paul 
are considered, and shown to 
have some foundation. - 186 

Bartholine, Blankaard. - - 187 

Sylvius, Boerhaave, Bohn, Columbus. 188 

Carrere; Ccesalpinus, strong evidence 
of his knowledge of the circula- 
tion, yet Harvey never alludes to 
him. - - - 189 

After strong proof of his forestalling 
much of what Harvey claims as his 
own ; and even its being admitted 
as very explicit ; prejudice shuts 
out his rights, as a mere notion, 
and that probably he was un- 
aware of the consequences of his 
assertions! - - 191 



Dr. Harvey is here affirmed to have 
done all, that Caesalpinus neglect- 
ed ; and to have demonstrated the 
pulmonary circulation, except as 
to the quo niodo, and as to the time. 192 

Chaillon, Charlton, Conring, Ent, 
Fabri. - 192 

Folli, Fouquet, Fabricius. - 193 

Galen, and references to his writ- 
ings. - 193 

Gerickc, Guido or V. Viduus, Han- 
neman, Harden, Hoffman. 198 

Humeau, Kyper, Leichner, Hec- 
quet, Hcister, Linden, Lisch- 
witz. - - - 199 

Lower, Maurocordato, Parisano, 
Pecquet, Pietre, Pitcairn, Prim- 
rose. ... 200 

Riolan, Rolfink, Rudbeck, - 201 

Servetus, describes with much 
precision the pulmonary circula- 
tion. - - - 201 

His life, and dreadful death by the 
machination of Calvin. The out- 
line of his doctrine of the circula- 
tion, very imperfectly given from 
his writings by all those who have 
quoted him. - - - 202 

Jenty, who translates him, gives 
him " a pretty distinct idea" of 
the pulmonary circuit, but con- 
siders him as too vague and 
undetermined to be esteemed a 
full and uncontested discoverer ; 
which, if correct in respect to 
Servetus, is not less so as to 
Harvey. ... 204 

Stahl, Valla, Walaeus, Verhcycn, 205 

Widelius. ... 206 

Addenda. — Fallopius seems to have 
understood the pulmonary circu- 
lation, and to have explained it 
like Galen, in the prevailing idea 
of a horror vacua?, or an attrac- 
tive power. - - - 208 

Maycw's opinion opposed to porosi- 
ties, and why he regarded it as a 
mere extravasation, and of a most 
confused character. - 209 

J. Langius' opinions of absorption 
of air by inspiration and by pores 
in order to intermingle with the 
blood. - - - 210 

Ettmuller, his opinions; claims the 
discovery rather for Father Paul 
than for either Harvey or Con- 
ringius. - - - 211 

His reference to several authors. 211 

The parts of Hippocrates' writings I 


on which Wala:us seems to claim 
for him a knowledge of the cir- 
culation. - - - 211 

Such expressions could scarcely be 
used without a definite meaning. 212 

What Harvey did not discover. 212 

His unsettled opinions shown by the 
College itself. - - " 212 

Further notice of Father Paul's 
claim. - - - 213 

All evincing the unsettled character 
of that in Harvey's behalf. 213 

Ch. J. Langius, — his notice of its 
discovery and adscription to Har- 
vey 213 

He advocates the doctrine of pores, 
and enters into some explanation 
of the objections made to them. 214 

In the course of which he affords 
us some information on the sub- 
ject of Harvey's Momes and De- 
tractors, viz., Primrose, Parisanus, 
Leichner, and Piso, and of the 
unceremonious mode in which 
their objections to Harvey were 
answered. - - - 215 

Galen's experiment of a tube inserted 
into an artery referred to, and in 
terms not very measured, or con- 
sistent with what was due to that 
great man. - - 216 

Junker's opinions at a later date, 
which amount only to the greater 
probability, he thinks of pores, to 
anastamoses. - - 216 

Too much stress laid upon the mere 
general route of the circulation, 
and too little, if any, on that of 
the particular circulation of each 
individual organ. - - 216 

Sanguification the result of no one 
organ alone. - - 217 

The general circulation considered 
simply, incapable of elucidating 
physiology. - - - 217 

The extreme extent of what we 
owe to Harvey, as laid down by 
Juncker. ... 218 

A quotation from Fallopius, at page 
208, explained more correctly, 218 

Introductory Lecture in vindication 
of Hippocrates, against Dr. Rush. 219 

High estimate of Hippocrates by 
Dr. Rush; his aspersions against 
Hippocrates undeserved, and un- 
designed. - - - 219 

Require correction, as being made 
public by the press. 219 

Galen, superior to Hippocrates. 220 



Dr. Rush translates Hippocrates' 
Aphorisms before twenty years 
old. - - - 220 

His high standing, renders all he 
said or wrote, of consequence. 220 

Idle acclamations to Hippocrates by 
those who deem his writings use- 
less. ... 220 

The merits of the ancients best 
tested by reference to their own 
writings, and not on second-hand 
authority. - . . 220 

The meretricious trappings of pre- 
sent times, derived from the 
neglected wardrobe of the an- 
cients. - - - 220 

What Dr. Rush has publicly main- 
tained against the knowledge of 
Hippocrates in his profession. 221 

No particular part specified, and 
hence the difficulty of disproving 
what is of a character so general. 221 

His charges separately considered. 221 

That he was ignorant of anatomy. 221 

No express work upon it, but much 
interspersed in his various writ- 
ings. - - - 221 

The general acquaintance of authors 
not to be judged of by some partial 
or unimportant instance to the 
contrary ; or none could escape, 
not even Dr. Rush himself. 221 

If improper in noticing our contem- 
poraries, it is infinitely more so 
against a writer as ancient as 
Hippocrates. - - 222 

If anatomy be the ground-work of 
medicine, and Hippocrates was ig- 
norant of it, ho is improperly call- 
ed the Father of our science. 222 

If the title is considered correct, and 
yet he is denied a knowledge of 
anatomy; then it follows, that 
anatomy is not essential to the 
student, and may be omitted in 
our schools of medicine. - 222 

Proofs of a general character, of his 
anatomical knowledge. - 222 

Greater facilities in now dissemi- 
nating knowledge. - - 222 

Appetency of knowledge not less 
conspicuous formerly than now. 222 

Proofs in the writings that have 
reached us. - - 222 

Aristotle — Galen — Celsus. - 224 

Absolute proof from Galen. 224 

Proofs of Galen's practical know- 
ledge of anatomy from his own 
statements. - - 224 


Celsus — his proofs abundant as to 
anatomical dissections. - 225 

Not limited to the dead body, if he is 
to be credited. - - 225 

If so, anatomy has scarcely since 
been carried to a like extent. 225 

His sentiments as to its absolute ne- 
cessity to learners. - - 225 

Difficulties even now, from the pre- 
judices of the public against ana- 
tomy. ... 225 

Formerly, greater, from the super- 
stitious notions of the ancients. 225 

Yet the human mind was then as 
vigorous and efficient as now. 225 

Dr. Rush's second assertion consi- 
dered, of Hippocrates confounding 
the arteries and veins. - 227 

Proofs to the contrary from a vast 
variety of sources, proving that 
the term vein, embraced also that 
of artery. - - 227 

Aulus Gellius quoted, as also nume- 
rous parts from the works of Hip- 
pocrates, Aristotle, Galen, Celsus, 
and others, in proof. - - 228 

Difficulty in translators not always 
understanding the various mean- 
ing of words, and thus applying 
them incorrectly. - 228 

Evidences of latitude of expression 
in terms, formerly, which now 
are more restricted. - - 228 

Hemorrhois, haemorrhagia, stoma- 
chus, cardia, &.c. uterus, &c. 
the varied meanings of the above 
words, and others pointed 
out. - - 228 to 230 

Artery and vein — the terms respec- 
tively considered, from numerous 
sources. - - - 231 

Phlebs or vein, a generic term, im- 
plying a canal, or tube, or chan- 
nel, &c. and therefore including 
artery. - - - 231 

Distinguished, however, from each 
other, by the artery having the 
adjunct pulsating, and the vein, 
that of non-pulsating, connected 
with them. - - - 231 

Arteria, originally intended of the 
aspera arteria alone. - 232 

Subsequently enlarged in its mean- 
ing, from being supposed to con- 
vey air, like the trachea, and not 
blood. - - - 232 

Quotations from different authors 
proving these particulars. 232, &c. 

Hippocrates in using these terms 



indiscriminately, was yet fully 
master of their distinctive mean- 
As was Aristotle and others. 
Inattention to such numerous facts, 

misled Dr. Rush. - 
The name of vein was given by the 
ancients to the ureters, proofs of. 
Disputes formerly, as to the propri- 
ety of this. 
Even to the time of Blancard, the 
name of vein was given to the 
If inaccurate, at least they are sanc- 
tioned by time, and therefore 
Hippocrates is not to be charged 
with ignorance on this score. 
What real difference does exist be- 
tween them as mere vessels for 
conveying blood ? 
Even for secretion, the vein is em- 
ployed by nature. 
A motion of the blood was admitted 
by Hippocrates, if even ignorant 
of its precise route. 
No one more highly estimated the 
blood, or better understood the 
importance of vensesection. 
Blood-letting dependent on experi- 
ence for its proper employment, 
and not on mere hypothetical no- 
tions. - 
Hippocrates, a practitioner of more 











than fifty years, and well enabled 
to prescribe it. 
His asserted ignorance of tho dis- 
tinction of nerves, tendons, and 
ligaments considered, and refuted 
from numerous sources. - 
Hippocrates shown to be acquainted 
with myology, and to have men- 
tioned several muscles in his 
writings. - 
His knowledge of the heart exempli- 
And of the brain and senses. 
Importance of phrenology in study- 
ing metaphysics. 
Hippocrates' opinion as to the Intes- 
tines, conformable to the opinions 
of his day, and not therefore to be 
attributed to ignorance; nor is 
there any thing disgusting in 
his statement of those organs, as 
asserted by Dr. Rush. 
Nor of the organs of generation. 
His doctrines on the subject of gene- 
ration, still hold a place in physi- 
His great merit, with small means 
of research ; compared with those 
of present times. 

Altogether undeserving of Dr. Rush's 


















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